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Flourishing FLOSS: Making Your Project Successful

Monday 3:10pm, Ballrooms B and C

About This Talk

You maintain an Open Source project with great code? Yet your project isn’t succeeding in the ways you want? Maybe you’re struggling with funding or documentation? Or you just can’t find new contributors and you’re drowning in issues and pull requests? Open Source is made up of many components and we are often better-trained in methods for writing good code, than in methods for succeeding in the other dimensions we want our project to grow. In this talk we’ll explore the different components of an Open Source project and how they work together. After this talk you’ll be well-equipped with a ideas and strategies for growing, cultivating, and nourishing your Open Source project.

For your project to succeed, all of its non-code components must be well-maintained. What are these different components and what methods can we learn to maintain them?

  • Build real relationships with your sponsors and determine ways how both sides can benefit from this relationship, don’t just ask people for money.
  • Establish a good communication system with your contributors: Keep them informed, listen to their feedback and input, make them feel heard.
  • Thank the people who worked on ticket triage or marketing, not just those who wrote code, in your release notes.
  • Make it easy for new contributors to get started: Write and maintain good documentation, answer questions in a friendly and timely manner.
  • Market and evangelize in the right places and at the right time: Give conference talks, organize sprints, keep your project’s Twitter account active, always curate new and interesting content on your blog or website.
  • Implement a Code of Conduct and enforce it if needed: Make your project a safe space to contribute for everyone.

With these methods and a half-dozen others, you’ll handle beautifully all the components your project needs to succeed.


  • Introduction - Who am I? What is this talk about?
  • What is Open Source?
  • Overview of the different components that make up an Open Source project
  • Growing, cultivating, and nourishing your Open Source project - Or how to make your project more successful
    • Operations
    • Funding
    • Marketing
    • Branding
    • Evangelism
    • Documentation
    • Community
    • Diversity
    • Contributors
      • Cultivating new contributors
      • Keeping current contributors happy
      • Communication
    • Efficient and sustainable processes
      • Ticket triage
      • Managing the pull request queue
    • Main takeaways
    • Q&A
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Anna Ossowski

Anna loves working at the intersection of tech and people and currently works for Elastic in developer relations. She is a former director of the Python Software Foundation, PyCon US Open Spaces-Chair, DjangoCon US Diversity Chair, and group leader of the PyLadies Remote group. In her free time she loves speaking at conferences and mentoring future speakers. Anna is very passionate about diversity and community outreach and wants to encourage more women to learn programming because it’s awesome!