After long time we hosted a Fedora Activity Day(FAD) at Red Hat office in Pune, India. While we fared well in Fedora activities; much was left wanting for more in terms of organising the day. This post is an attempt to do a retrospective review, so that we could avoid the same mistakes in future. As for the test day activities that we did, they are logged
Few days ago, bunch of us over lunch table discussed about reviving local Fedora community interaction and the idea for a FAD came to the fore. Now looking back, I think we immediately agreed to the idea because all of us at the table had seen & participated in FADs. We knew the drill. We knew how it works and how to participate. But little did we know about organising the day. Once it was decided that we’ll host a FAD, question was what do we do there? We held a quick stand-up discussion and decided we’ll do a Fedora test day. Participants would come and test different parts of Fedora as per their taste and file bugs for any observed failures. Implicit assumption here is participants would know the drill, what to test, how to test, how to file bugs and add karma etc. We created a wiki page with details about time & venue of the FAD, section for attendees to register their names and another one to list planned activities. But these were individual plans rather than planned activities for all.
On Saturday when I reached office, participants were already installing F21. Room was abuzz with comments & discussion about whether something was a bug or a feature. I planned to test the local DNSSEC resolver configuration, which is due to become default in F22.
At lunch I spoke with the new participants about what they were doing and in general how they contributed to Fedora. It turned out to be the most revealing conversation of the day, which also set the tone of this post. After lunch I could easily divide the FAD participants in two groups. One bunch was the experienced Fedora veterans who knew the drill. And the second was the new contributors eager to know the drill. They were absolutely new to Fedora. Some knew programming, others not so much. Of course all had FAS accounts, but they did not do anything with it. Some had created the FAS account to attend this FAD. So, when the veterans were doing their pre-planned tests, the new contributors were mostly left clueless about what they were suppose to do. One of the participant even asked me – What should I do?
I think we failed to set a clear agenda for the Fedora Activity Day. An agenda which was not individual but one that involved all the participants. It is not enough to just define the agenda, nope. General direction to execute that agenda is also imperative. It was essential for us to define how we were going to run the test day. Which bugs were we going to triage? How were we going to triage those bugs and what action was required at the end of the triage? Ex. another participant enquired about how to add karma via Bodhi web interface and the answer was sourced from #fedora-qa channel. All these instructions should have been listed on the FAD wiki page.
After FAD, I was browsing through the Fedora project wiki to see if there were any guidelines to help organise an activity day. And sure enough, I came across
It lists the similar suggestions as above. Other minor glitch was to not solicit food preferences in advance. Along with the Attendees’ registration, a column could have specified their food preferences. Since it is a one day event, it does not make sense to go to a restaurant for lunch. That would be a distraction from the planned event.
So a FAD wiki page should at least have:
- Clear agenda for the day that’ll involve all participants. If participants want to form small groups and execute separate tasks, that is fine, but nobody should feel clueless.
- Detailed instructions about how to execute the set agenda.
- List of attendees along with their food preferences.
- Section to document activity’s status & review comments.
- Links to the resource pages and/or blogs etc.
- Miscellaneous section.
- See -> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Template:FAD
Hope it helps!