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DjangoCon US Sprints: A New Attendee Guide

DjangoCon US 2017 is less than two weeks away. In addition to the tutorials and talks, DjangoCon US has two days of sprints. If you’ve never sprinted before, here’s a basic introduction.

What are sprints?

Wikipedia defines a sprint as “a get-together of people involved in a project to further a focused development of the project”. The plural, “sprints,” is this same concept, spread across multiple projects. “Sprint” can be a noun or a verb. As an example: “I’m going to sprint on Django during the DjangoCon US sprints”.

Why have sprints?

In general, sprints provide a chance for existing contributors to an open source project to work together in the same space. These often happen around conferences, since open source contributors may be spread out around a country or the world.

Why you should attend sprints

Sprints provide an opportunity for new contributors to make their first contributions while being able to get support or guidance from the project maintainers.

What should I sprint on?

It’s up to you. We don’t know all the projects that are going to be having sprints, but we’ll have time at the conference for sprint groups to make an announcement. Alternatively, you can sprint on your own personal projects, while surrounded by your fellow developers and aspiring developers.

Common concerns about attending sprints

  • I’m not a good enough developer to sprint/work on Project X.
    • All levels of developers are welcomed, encouraged and needed to sprint. Most projects have tasks that are designed for new developers, as well as people who’ll help you get started.
  • But I just started learning Python/Django/coding AT DjangoCon US!
    • If you’re worried about being a complete coding novice, there’s also documentation to contribute to. As a beginner, your views on documentation are especially valuable. If a true beginner can’t get started with the beginner documentation, it needs to be fixed. But the only way to know that is to have a beginner look at it and help clarify it.
    • Don’t forget about other skills you may have. Some documentation needs to be translated into other languages. You may be able to help with that. Each project has unique needs that you may be able to address.
  • I’m scared people will think I don’t know what I’m doing.
    • Most of us are. But people who attend sprints are very happy to help new contributors, no matter their skill level. Remember, you’re volunteering to help them. So, they want you to succeed. And if you’re still too uncomfortable, remember, you can also work on your own projects or tutorials. You can also observe the sprints during Day 1, then jump in on Day 2.

No matter how you choose to participate, we hope to see you at the sprints this year or in the future.