– We at RecWorks organised the first Meet a Project event which happened last night
– It was a pilot that will hopefully develop into an ongoing program
– It was chaotic but a lot of fun
– There were six projects in attendance Briar, RHQ, D Development Tools, Adopt a JSR/Adopt OpenJDK, Open Media Network and Continuous Delivery pipeline
– It seemed to be a success, lots of good feedback but only time will tell if it actually worked
– We learned a lot, it went on for too long because we had too many projects
– We want to hear from you – did you enjoy it? do you wish you’d come? do you think it’s a good/bad/ugly idea?
– Would anyone like to sponsor if we do it again?
– Check out Spring of Code for more cool OSS events
Last night we had our first full Meet a Project event. Chaotic, but a lot of fun, I thought I would take the time to write a quick report to the whole group as it was something that many people have shown a casual interest in and asked about, in discussions at other events recently.
At RecWorks we have met so many developers that are truly passionate about what they do that we try to encourage anyone in the Java space to develop their talent (it certainly makes our job easier :-))… and with so many opportunities in London to do so, we aim to make those connections. We have been organising and hosting events as part of the GDC for graduates to meet mentors in a ‘speed dating’ style for a year now. The format has been very successful so we thought we would try something similar in this space. The general feeling we get from a lot of developers interested in OSS is that they don’t know where to start, unless they find a very strong ‘itch’ to scratch then many end up thinking about it, but never long enough to take the plunge and get involved.
Last night was very much a pilot, our attempt to connect OSS and personal projects with developers looking for other opportunities and students that were new to OSS. The goal was to make the barrier for entry a bit lower and give people a chance to either find a project or ask advice of those that have been through the same thing as them, if nothing else it was a chance to network with a lot of people that are in a similar situation.
We had six project leaders, some coming as far as Germany to be involved in the event. They represented different projects; Briar, RHQ, D Development Tools, Adopt a JSR, Open Media Network and Continuous Delivery pipeline. Further details about the projects can be found in the comments here: http://www.meetup.com/Londonjavacommunity/events/98543702/ The project leads will all be adding links to their projects to the comments section asap. We split the attendees into 6 groups, each project lead had a chance to present the projects and answer any questions the attendees had for 15-20 minutes before moving on to the next group.
Was it a success?
I think so… there was certainly some awesome feedback at the drinks afterwards, but we will only really see over the next few days how many attendees actually join mailing lists and get in touch with the project leads. From the conversations in the pub there was certainly a high amount of intent to do so, we will be extremely interested to see if this happens.
What did we learn as organisers?
There were too many projects, it was just a little too overwhelming for everyone, too much information to receive for the attendees and too many times to say the same thing for the project leads. If we repeat the event we feel that 3-4 would probably be an ideal amount of projects. We had three smallish rooms so there was a slight ‘crowded’ feeling but I think with less projects that wouldn’t be so much of a problem, trying to predict how many people will come is always tricky on Meetup groups we see anything from 50-120% attendance, to make it more tricky people tend to show at any time from 6-7 as coming from different locations/finish work at different times… in an ideal world I think it could work to have tables of varying experience levels, this is certainly something we’ll try in the future.
One thing that I did like about it was the chaotic feel, which was reminiscent of the first unconference that we organised, in which we weren’t sure who would come or quite how it would go until it was actually running.
What do YOU think?
It was a lot of fun, and depending on the feedback I get, I’m keen for us to organise another event and hopefully run this as an ongoing series so we can really make an impact on the amount of developers getting involved in Open Source development. I am keen to hear back from anyone in the LJC about this. Do you think it’s worth while cause? if you came along to the event, did you think it was brilliant… or awful? If you were disappointed you couldn’t get along, but would come again? Any way we could improve it etc. Any thoughts or opinions I’m interested to hear back either personally to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to the LJC list.
We didn’t have a sponsor last night. If you would be interested in sponsoring these events or others in the future, please let me know.
Spring of Code
As a final mention, if you’re interested in oss as a project lead or potential committer and did or didn’t get along then please check out Spring of Code. They have an event on 4th February: http://springofcode.org/en_GB Marc and Richard were down last night, they’re great guys and run some awesome events in this space. Again any feedback on their events please share it with the group