Why we sprint – and why you should join us.
Hackathon. Unconference. Codefest. Sprint. There are many names for collaborative events in the world of open source software (OSS). At the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), we hold two-day events called “sprints.”
PKP sprints consist of small organized in-person teams that come together to solve common software issues. Kind of like an “un-conference.” Familiar with the SMART acronym? It’s kind of like that too. Sprints deal with tasks that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time specific. There is no homework. And work is completed collaboratively within the two day event. Most importantly, as we’ve mentioned before, sprints are for everyone, no matter your technical ability.
OSS is not open without diverse contributions. Many of the enhancements and features you experience in new software releases are because of work completed at our sprints. Whereas work online might drag on, issues presented at sprints are creatively and constructively tackled within the time provided.
Simply put, we sprint so we can come together. Much of the development work on PKP software is done remotely. Our staff and users are based all over the world. And while we have excellent channels to bring together our development community – notably GitHub, the PKP Community Forum, and committees – an in-person sprint creates engagement in a way the online world cannot.
Sprints are also a way for us to say thanks to our community and recognize the people behind the software. There is no registration fee and we provide food. You’ll have to find your way to us (travel and accommodation are not included), but once you do, you’re in good hands. Sprints are a great opportunity to meet like-minded open source and open access colleagues. We’re pretty sure you’ll have some fun too.
OJS is used in more than 100 countries around the world, so where to sprint is almost as important as why. To date, we’ve sprinted in Fredericton, Montreal, Heidelberg, and Vancouver. Logistically, sprinting is most feasible (financially so) where we have partners. There’s a lot of Canada in PKP, hence our sprints to date. But we recently sprinted in Germany thanks to friends at Heidelberg University. And we will sprint in Barcelona in November 2019 for our bi-annual conference. We hope to diversify our sprints even more and can, and will, as we build sustainers around the world. If your organization can support a future sprint, let us know!
If you find yourself in the area of our next sprint, please join us. The work you’ll do has a direct impact on the development of PKP software. You’ll be part of a loud and proud OSS community. And, if that doesn’t have you convinced, don’t forget there’s free food.