Leaving an Open Source Project – Gareth J. Greenaway


I’m going to have my brief time to everyone
send a round of applause to the DevOpsDays organizers. [Applause]
I’m Gareth, this is not a how to or suggestion, if anyone decides to leave a project after
seeing this talk, please don’t blame me. It’s not my fault. So about six months ago, I decided to leave
a job that I have been at for just over two years. It was a job I grown bored with. I complained to my friends and family many
months before leaving. And when I left, I had the usual kind of process
too. I had the exit interview, I told my supervisor
my coworkers took me out for the goodbye lunch. Afterwards my friends and family told me it
was about damn time that I left. A couple of months later, I decided to leave
an open source project that I had helped start and actively running for 14 years. It was a very different process. And it had been something I had been doing
longer than most jobs. When I left, a lot of people were surprised. Mostly because no one in a leadership position
had left the project up until that point and no one knew what that meant for the project,
especially me. Unlike a lot of the jobs I left, there was
no exit strategy. So this got me thinking. Just about leaving projects in general. Why people leave, what it means, how they
leave? And just kind of what that means for the project
in general. So I started talking to people who had recently
left projects. Kind of asked them, like, what — how they
left. Why they left? Kind of what the process had been like for
them leaving. And the responses I got were very varied. So people left, they didn’t have time. They changed jobs. Or they — the project was no longer relevant. It was — no one was using it anymore. But sometimes people left for negative reasons. So usually when this happens, people didn’t
know. If they had a problem with a project leader
or someone else in the project, they didn’t know who to go to. And so they would oftentimes leave and leave
very vocally. I’m sure we’ve all heard about a few recently. So oftentimes when someone leaves a project,
it leads to either a new project starting up, in a completely different space or a forth
of the existing project. Oftentimes when we leave jobs, we’re asked
not to recruit people from our companies. That doesn’t exist in the open source world. So if you’ve left a project recently or decided
to leave, again, I’m not suggesting anyone do that, what does that mean? What do you do after that? Are there resources for the project in your
name? What does a transition look like? Do you give two weeks notice? Do you have an interviews? Does it make sense for them to? What about notifications? Or announcements? Does the project make the not to my recollection
of? Who says and what do you say? What’s appropriate and what’s — what are
you and are you not allowed to say? Does that exist? Usually when people have projects, they don’t
sign NDAs with this that doesn’t exist. There had been no announcement, especially
in the leadership position and a lot of people who left hadn’t told anyone in the project
or out of the project because they considered the role rather minor. What if you work for a company that’s funding
your project and you leave that job? Or you leave the project? Who is the project — who owns that project? Who owns the resources of that project is
using? So in speaking to a lot of leaders and members
of current projects, a lot of them had no idea what they would do if someone left in
a prominent position because no one had left in prominent positions yet and a lot of the
groups wish they had something in place because people left, and they left very vocally. So what can we do to make this better? If your project isn’t — doesn’t have some
sort of governance. If you don’t have a process of how people
leaves and what’s involved, it needs that. I realize this is a bigger issue and a bigger
topic that can be discussed in a five-minute talk, but I hope that the conversations start. The way that people leave a project is very
similar to how they begin. It sets the tone. So I am Gareth Greenaway as I is, this has
been leading an open source project. If you’ve enjoyed it, please find me later,
and we can continue the conversation. If you haven’t enjoyed it and anything I’ve
said has offended you, my name is Corey Quinn and this has been Timmy’s family uses Git. Why can’t we? Thank you. [Laughter]
[Applause]>>All right. So that is the end of all the ignites. Did you enjoy them? [Applause]
Come on let’s give a bigger round of applause for all of our speakers. Again, thank you so much, speakers, for coming
out and sharing your stories. Next up, we have open spaces. The planning is going to start in the grand
hall. So if you want to start going over there,
we’ll get things started. Thank you.

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