Mentoring in Launchpad

Taking your first steps into a free software project can be intimidating.

Whether you want to code, write documentation, help with marketing or whatever, there’s a learning curve to overcome.

Launchpad lets people help each other

Launchpad is all about making it easier for free software people to work together. Recently, we introduced a new feature to do just that: mentoring.

Mentoring is simple: it provides an easy way for new participants to learn the ropes of a Launchpad team that they want to join.

An example scenario

It works like this:

  • Daniel is a member of the Telepathy team. He wants to encourage more people to join the team but knows that new participants need to learn some basics. He offers mentorship for some bugs that he feels would be easy for new people to tackle and would help them learn the ropes.
  • Sarah is interested in Telepathy. She visits the team’s mentoring page and sees a list of bugs that she can get help with.
  • Sarah has some questions, so contacts Daniel using the details on his Launchpad profile page. Daniel answers her and Sarah gets to work.
  • Sarah produces a number of patches, with iterative improvements thanks to Daniel’s feedback. The conversation takes place in the bug’s comments, meaning other people can easily take part.

During that process, Sarah learnt how to contribute effectively to the Telepathy team. The Telepathy team not only got one of its bugs fixed but gained a new member. Daniel found satisfaction in helping Sarah and the team, whilst having time to work on other bugs.

Mentoring is easy to manage

Importantly, the only people who had to give time to the process were Daniel and Sarah. Although offers of mentorship are linked to teams, team administrators don’t have to become involved. Mentoring is about relationships between individuals who choose to work together, so there’s no need for time-consuming bureaucracy to manage it.

Mentoring for Ubuntu

You can find all the offers of mentorship, that are related to Ubuntu, at:

https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+mentoring

There, you’ll see how recent each offer is, which team it’s linked to, who made the offer and which bug or blueprint it relates to.

You can find out more about mentoring in our guide at:

https://help.launchpad.net/MentoringManagement

What do you think?

I’m really keen to hear what you think of mentoring. To me, its simplicity is its strength. It’s so easy for both sides to use that I can see it quickly becoming a core way for communities to encourage and develop new members.

Comment here, drop me a mail, or join us on the launchpad-users mailing list.