Mentors Meet in Mountain View, Manifest Mastery of Mentoring

Jeff Brewster and I had a great time at the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2009 Mentor Summit. We were royally welcomed, well-fed, and given a great springboard for mind-melding with the other GSoC mentors.

The summit was decidedly unconference style: meeting ideas were shared beforehand but the sessions themselves scheduled and run on-the-fly. I wanted to learn more about project hosting since we recently worked the Mifos project through some issues with hosting at java.net (and ended up moving to SourceForge), so I co-hosted a session called Project Hosting Horrors. The session filled up a room and we got useful feedback from lots of projects about what works with hosting, what doesn't, and ideas on different approaches.

I was also deeply interested in a couple other sessions: making our open source communities more welcoming to women and minorities and making mentoring a continuous activity.

One non-session artifact that popped up was a beautiful and useful mentor's guide, written by eight people in 2 days! It's a complete book. Truly inspiring.

From the different people I met and talked with, I came away with a couple of take-home messages:

  • it is still quite rare to be paid to write FLOSS
  • we (the Mifos team) practice decent project management
  • our selection process was effective and we have some good ideas on how to present projects in the future

Huge thank you to Leslie Hawthorn, Ellen Ko, Kat, and everyone in the Google Open Source Programs office for an excellent summit and an excellent Summer of Code.

Check out the summit wiki for session notes and information on partipants. There are many photos of the summit on Flickr.

Adam Monsen, Software Engineer, Mifos

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