Metrics-Driven OSS Advocacy: Watching the Conversion Funnel

*
Proposal
Short Form
Intermediate

Excerpt

This talk will address the challenges of tracking open source project metrics and its limitations, presented from the perspective of an engineer who was specifically hired to advocate and grow strong communities around existing open source projects. Using Dave's work at Twitter as a case study, it will introduce how metrics have driven a monthly strategy for advocacy for the Apache Mesos project. The talk will address how a conversion funnel can be an effective model of evaluating and communicating where growth occurs in a project and its potential impact.

Description

The health of an open source project is difficult to express in a single number; communities have different potential and expectations of growth, and every project has places where it could improve. Yet, open source is a strategy that many companies embrace. So what’s a productive way for those companies to think about metrics, project health, and growth? When taking a monthly snapshot, what’s the best way to capture a project’s trajectory?

This talk will address the challenges of tracking metrics and its limitations, presented from the perspective of an engineer who was specifically hired to advocate and grow strong communities around existing open source projects. Using Dave’s work at Twitter as a case study, it will introduce how metrics have driven a monthly strategy for advocacy for the Apache Mesos project. How do we prioritize whether to focus on community events, versus documentation, versus getting started scripts or other code improvements — and how do we measure the impact of that on community growth? The talk will address how a conversion funnel can be an effective model of evaluating and communicating where growth occurs in a project and its potential impact.

Open source community metrics aren’t new by any means, having been discussed in other conference presentations 1 to identify specific activities like mailing list traffic, bug reports, and numbers of patches submitted to act as proxies for the overall health of a project. This talk is particularly inspired by Kohsuke Kawaguchi’s presentation, “Creating a Developer Community” 2, which described user adoption within open source projects as a conversion funnel, and a process of transitioning visitors to users and eventually developers. Kawaguchi uses a conversion funnel to illustrate the importance of making projects more approachable to users. This presentation will take the conversion funnel more literally with examples, and explain how by applying metrics to visitors, users, and contributors we can be act strategically to foster community growth.


1 http://www.slideshare.net/geekygirldawn/open-source-community-metrics-fosdem
2 http://www.slideshare.net/kohsuke/building-developer-community

Tags

community, advocacy, adoption, metrics

Speaking experience

At Twitter I have spoken at several meetups related to Apache Mesos [1][2], the project that will be used in this talk. I have not given this particular talk before, however such metrics are an integral part of my work at Twitter and I'm eager to reflect and share my experience thus far.

Speaker

  • Dave Lester

    Twitter

    Biography

    Open Source Advocate at Twitter. Apache Mesos and Apache Aurora PMC member and committer.