Episode 85

Introducing CHAOSS Practitioner Guides: #1 Responsiveness


30 May 2024

31 mins 51 secs

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CHAOSScast – Episode 85

In this episode of CHAOSScast, host Alice Sowerby is joined with Dawn Foster and special guest, Luis Cañas-Díaz from Bitergia. Today, they delve into the Practitioner Guide series created by CHAOSS, particularly focusing on the Responsiveness Guide authored by Dawn. The conversation highlights the challenges people face in interpreting data and metrics within their projects and how the guides aim to provide actionable insights for improvement. Additionally, they touch on the potential risks of misinterpreting metrics and stress the importance of context and direct involvement from project teams to effectively address responsiveness issues. The episode also covers future directions for the guide series and ways the community can contribute and provide feedback. Press download to hear more!

[00:02:08] Alice asks Dawn to explain the newly launched Practitioner Guide series by CHAOSS. Dawn elaborates on the Practitioner Guides, addressing the community’s struggle with data interpretation and the initiative to provide guidance on metric usage for project improvements.

[00:05:02] Luis comments on the utility of the Practitioner Guides, emphasizing the need to focus on goals over metrics to avoid data overload.

[00:05:54] Dawn mentions the feedback received on the guides, particularly from Luis and others in various OSPO working groups.

[00:07:11] The discussion shifts to the Guide on Responsiveness, with Dawn identifying key metrics like time to first response, time to close, and change request closure ratio.

[00:08:37] Luis shares the significance of responsiveness metrics in community growth and ensuring fair treatment across organizational contributors.

[00:09:54] Dawn details how the guides suggest making improvements, noting the importance of understanding context, such as seasonal variations or event-related disruptions, in evaluating responsiveness.

[00:11:01] We hear some practical tips from Dawn on improving responsiveness, like using templates for contributions to reduce maintainers’ review times and discussing time allocation with maintainers to offload non-critical tasks.

[00:13:47] Luis emphasizes that metrics highlight things that are happening but require deeper investigation to understand the underlying issues.

[00:15:05] Dawn discusses strategies to improve project responsiveness, such as recruiting more maintainers and contributors. She warns against simply pressuring existing maintainers to increase responsiveness, which can lead to burnout and does not address the root cause of delays.

[00:17:33] Luis shares experiences from conversations with managers about the pressures of responding to community needs. He warns against using metrics to measure productivity, as it can lead people to manipulate their behavior to look good on metrics rather than genuinely improving their work. Also, he tells us about a book he read that he liked called, “The Tyranny of Metrics.”

[00:19:42] Luis explains the critical role of responsiveness on onboarding and retaining new community members, emphasizing the importance of prompt feedback to make newcomers feel valued.

[00:20:26] Dawn stresses the impact of responsiveness on new contributors, noting that delays or lack of feedback can permanently discourage them from participating in the project.

[00:21:38] Dawn advises patience and persistence in improving responsiveness, emphasizing that it is a long-term effort.

[00:22:50] Alice inquires about the future directions for the Practitioner Guides series, and Dawn reveals plans for additional guides on topics like software development practices and community activity and encourages community involvement in creating new guidelines. She discusses possibilities for customizing guides for specific organizational needs, such as what Comcast has done.

[00:26:32] Luis suggests exploring educational courses or short video series to help newcomers understand and use metrics effectively in open source projects, emphasizing the long-term value of documentation in retaining knowledge.

[00:27:38] Dawn details ways listeners can engage with the CHAOSS community.

Value Adds (Picks) of the week:

  • [00:29:06] Luis’s pick is having the opportunity to collaborate with the Mozilla Foundation again since they were involved in the creation of the “Mozilla and the Rebel Alliance” report years ago.
  • [00:29:54] Dawn’s pick is The Practitioner Guides.
  • [00:31:06] Alice’s pick is coffee ice cream.


Alice Sowerby

Dawn Foster


Luis Cañas-Díaz



CHAOSS Project X/Twitter

CHAOSScast Podcast


Georg Link Website

Dawn Foster X/Twitter

Alice Sowerby Website

Luis Cañas-Díaz Website

Luis Cañas-Díaz LinkedIn

About the CHAOSS Practitioner Guides

Unlocking Insights: Practitioner Guides for Interpreting Open Source Metrics

Practitioner Guide: Responsiveness

The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller

CHAOSS Data Science Working Group-GitHub

Mozilla & the Rebel Alliance


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