7 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Open Source Project Developers

It seems like only yesterday that 2016 begun and we were just about to see great changes happening with SourceForge. Now we’re at the end of it, readying ourselves for yet another year.

As fond as we are of the year that was, now is not just a time for remembering “Auld Lang Syne”, but also a time to prepare for what comes next. For open source project developers that means not only reflecting upon decisions and actions made, but also coming up with new resolutions that will define the future of open source projects.

If you’re currently handling an open source project and unsure of what these resolutions should be, here are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Mentor more. Investing in your team is investing in your project. When you put in the time and resources to help your team members become well-trained and experienced, you will no doubt see the positive effects on your project. Apart from mentoring your team members, encourage other, more experienced team members to be mentors as well. Create avenues for mentorship like meetings and lunches where new and interested developers can mingle with more experienced ones and learn from them.
  2. Continue your education. Just as with your team, investing in your own skills and knowledge is also investing in your project. Software development is continually changing, with new languages, frameworks and technologies emerging every year. Make sure you keep up with these changes by enrolling in online classes, or simply joining meetups. The more skills and knowledge you acquire, the more you can apply to the development of your project.
  3. Develop and refine your project metrics. These figures can show you what progress looks like for your project, and where to focus in order to better achieve your goals.
  4. Improve your documentation. Quality documentation is where all great contributions begin. This coming year, you could resolve to make yours more user-friendly and informative, and consequently encourage more people to contribute to the project.
  5. Find better ways to reach out to contributors. If you haven’t had much luck getting new contributors this year, then it may be high time to find new ways of reaching out to them in the coming year. Perhaps you need to be more vocal about needing help, and identify the specific areas where people can easily start making contributions. Or perhaps you need to vary your mediums of communication. Expressing your needs via social media or on a newsletter might just do the trick.
  6. Collect feedback- not only from users but from previous contributors as well. Find out why they stopped contributing, and if there are things you can do to make them eager to contribute again.
  7. Take a break. Perhaps you’ve been working too hard this year. If so, resolve to take some breaks in the coming year. Taking breaks can help you see the bigger picture, and spot important aspects of project development you may have missed. It also helps you to recharge. During these breaks you could choose to contribute to other projects, and by so doing learn something new and broaden your horizons. This can also help you to refocus and introduce you to a much needed change of pace.

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