Scaling the OpenFaaS Community through Pods

This blog post introduces an idea we're starting to evaluate on the OpenFaaS project called Pods. In the container world (specifically from Kubernetes) a Pod is a group of containers which share resources and can get in touch with each other easily - they're also scheduled on the same host in a group.

This is our new logo and sticker which was sponsored by Packet.net - the bare-metal cloud. Packet also provided us with cloud credits so we can continue to develop and deliver great Serverless demos including machine learning.

You can order your own swag - magnets, stickers or something else with our media-pack

Grow

Fast Growth

Our OpenFaaS community has grown from zero in December 2016 to over 240 members in our Slack group, active customers and around 60 contributors. Our #contributors channel in the Slack group is the most active of all and is full of ideas, collaboration and great examples of community spurring one-another along.

More and more our group has been called-out for leadership, mentoring, connectedness and community mobilisation. I believe the key word for us is connect. I want every new contributor to feel at home and that their contributions are valued as we shape our project together into something we and our friends really want to use.

A healthy community is one that collaborates where members speak to each other on a regular basis and swarm around Pull Requests, Issues, events and strategy.

Back to Pods

Leading OpenFaaS is a demanding task and it draws on every reserve to generate traction, motivate the community and to help make every new contributor feel at home. After writing down and reflecting on all the ways I invest energy into OpenFaaS I met with my core group and proposed the idea of Pods, which we believe will help us keep connected and bolster collaboration between community members as we continue to grow.

Pods are:

  • 7 +/- 2 people
  • Mixed ability
  • Gravitate to areas of the project that interest them the most
  • Get special mentions in GitHub issues, PRs and release notes
  • Work collaboratively or independently
  • Are represented by a Pod Advocate who is willing to commit to give time to the Pod and the project

A Pod Advocate helps decentralise leadership across the project which will help me focus on strategy and vision while allowing them to shine at the same time.

Wait.. has this been tested??

The idea of working in small groups is not a new one and while working on Open-Source is not the same as "Agile" Software Development we believe there is some overlap. Here's what Atlassian have to say about working in small groups:

Agile visionaries believed that teamwork is essential to delivering great software and that great agile teams embody "we" rather than “I." Nothing is more rewarding than sharing the adventure of building something that truly matters with engaged teammates.

Since early on we've held regular contributor meetings where we get face time, do round-table introductions and give contributors a place to demo their hard work. We'll also talk about project values, strategy and what we need to work on next.

That sounds a lot like a Sprint Review to me.

What's going to change for you?

As a customer or user you may see more focused delivery of what matters to you. As a community member we hope you will feel more connected and if you are contributing to our project - you'll have more opportunities to grow through collaboration, mentoring, promotion and support.

Not for you? We realise that many people who work on Open Source projects like to do so independently and when it suits them best and so we'd like to offer you the opportunity to connect with a Pod. If that's not for you we understand and hope you will still benefit from a more collaborative group of contributors.

Get involved

Checkout the ROADMAP and open issues

Head over to our contributing guide for a list of the most active repositories and some ideas for how you can start contributing today.

Star our main repo and follow on Twitter

We have several repositories which make up the main OpenFaaS distribution, so we count stars across our GitHub organisation.

Our main repository is called openfaas/faas - show your support by adding your Star.

We publish news, merged PRs, contributor blog posts and all sorts of other OpenFaaS news through Twitter so checkout the account and follow twitter.com/openfaas.

Order Swag

You can get our media-pack / press-kit from GitHub and order a pack of stickers or magnets with our latest logo for your local meet-up group or office lunch-and-learn session.

Join Slack

We'd like to welcome you into our Slack community so send a quick email over to alex@openfaas.com and we'll invite you to join and introduce you to the group.

Alex Ellis

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United Kingdom http://alexellis.io/

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