I am just back from the annual Fedora Contributors conference which was held in Budapest over the past week. Back in January I changed my role inside Red Hat and I now find myself managing a team known as the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) Team. This find group of individuals are working directly in both the CentOS and Fedora Communities. Flock was my first opportunity to meet the wider Community at large and help to foster relationships and receive feedback from some of our most recent proposed changes. As a team we are undergoing a process improvement journey and a starting point was defining our mission statement and looking at reducing the huge ownership of services that we had accumulated organically over a number of years. We are trying to open our doors to more contributors to help us and we have just released a major service which was a first milestone for me as a manager in the team. I had high expectations of Flock and I definitely exceeded them
Our team was well represented there and we had a number of really interesting talks. For me though, as a manager of a remote team, this is a great chance to connect with people in person. Technology has us instantly communicating on a day to day basis but seeing the team, sharing a coffee or a beer and having a laugh in person is priceless. I also realized that exact reaction is what makes Fedora so powerful, that community connection. I had some great conversations with Community contributors who helped share some of their concerns and reinforce the value in why we are making the changes we are. Highlights for me were:
- The excitement around Fedora IoT and the future of this entire area. I think every programmer or hobbyist technologist has an eye on IoT and smart home kind of capabilities. What is in store for this area and the growth potential of both Fedora and Open Source Software is something I am eagerly awaiting
- The quality of the Intern projects for both GSoC and Outreachy was something else. I saw amazing projects being presented by students who just finished up their projects. The community as a whole has gained new contributors, new services, new enthusiasm, but us, as an industry, have gained another person who has embraced the Open Source way of working and who will make a huge impact in their career. During this session I had the privilege of being asked to sit in on a panel and share my thoughts and insights as a hiring manager (P.S. I am hiring right now!) to help students figure out a path towards a career in Open Source.
- It’s probably fine was one of the first talks of the week by Cate Huston. Cate talked about a topic close to my hear which is team self improvement. This talk really meant that my own talk the following day was teed up perfectly as the thought process was mirrored. It’s good to know that others have that same mindset as me :)
- I presented Open Source Agile and how this is a long journey for our team. I got some really interesting comments and feedback from the audience during the talk, which is something I love. Having that openness is something I value in a presentation as I can adapt my pitch to ensure I both answer the questions and allay any concerns. I thoroughly enjoyed it and every time I present I learn something new. For me, this time, I experimented with using much more pictures than normal and weaved my talk around it Vs relying on text. I think it worked out alright and I enjoyed the free form it gave me. I found myself sitting in on other talks and being able to reference some of their thoughts and comments and create a steel thread of an idea that I could refer back to. It gives extra motivation to pay attention to other talks when otherwise you might be distracted trying to rehearse your own deck.
Overall the conference for me was a success. The chance to connect with my team, the social time with all the attendees. The ability to ask and answer questions, to gain an insight into the Community and to ultimately become part of it. I’m a newbie at 8 months to the Community but I was given a warm welcome and made to feel like home. Fedora truly is a family and is all about that Community connection. I’m already looking forward to Flock 2020!