Community guest post by Catherine Paganini, Carolyn Van Slyck, TAG Contributor Strategy

Whether you are trying to build an active, welcoming community, manage contributors’ expectations, or motivate members to take on more responsibility, managing an open-source project can feel overwhelming. But there is no reason for you to figure it out on your own. Whatever challenge you are facing today, someone surely solved it before. The Contributor Strategy Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is a CNCF group where maintainers can connect, learn from each other, and get battle-tested resources. 

design image of tag contrib strategy
Illustration contributed by Dzoan Ho.

What is TAG Contributor Strategy?

The TAG Contributor Strategy is a group of people committed to helping CNCF projects be successful. We do that by defining strategies to build, scale, and retain contributor communities. Here are some of the things we offer:

CNCF Maintainer’s Circle. Regular events where maintainers meet to discuss how they run their project and share their experiences.

Informational and training resources. These include guides, tutorials, and templates of best practices, trade-offs, strategies, building and participating in scalable contributor communities.

Guidance for maintainers about how to engage with contributors.

Sign up for our mailing list and the #tag-contributor-strategy channel on the CNCF Slack if this sounds interesting..

Why join TAG Contributor Strategy?

Open source is about community, not only within your project but also across projects. The CNCF — the common home of our projects — provides a platform for us to connect and help each other. That’s the essence of this group: 

Don’t reinvent the wheel! Whether you’re looking for specific resources, advice, or want to bounce off ideas, TAG Contributor Strategy is here to help.

What resources are currently available?

Developed for maintainers by maintainers, our resources help projects implement battle-tested best practices from fellow project owners. They include templates for a contributing guide, contributor ladder, governance frameworks, security disclosures, and more. Plus, general guidance to grow your contributor base. Here are some of our most popular resources:

What if I need a resource that doesn’t exist yet?

We are relatively new, and many ideas are still on our backlog. If you need help with one particular aspect, chances are, others do too. Drop-in on one of our meetings, and we’ll help you create it. 

If you’re wondering why you should create a resource for this group instead of one for your project specifically, here are some (hopefully) compelling reasons:

  1. We can connect you to project maintainers so you can get input from people who’ve been there,
  2. These project maintainers will be much more likely to share their experience if you are creating something any project can benefit from,
  3. We’ll try to find volunteers who’ll team up with you.

Besides, we are open-source folks! We love to create things that other people get value from. Why not share what you come up with with the world?

How can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved. If the TAG Contributor Strategy sounds interesting:

  1. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up to date with news and resources, 
  2. Leverage the resources we developed. You can find them on contribute.cncf.io,
  3. Help us get the word out — tell other maintainers about us (we’d appreciate your help here!).

If you want to be more active, join the meetings to exchange ideas, ask questions, and network with other maintainers: 

  1. Search for Contributor Strategy in the CNCF Public Events Calendar,
  2. Participate in our Maintainer Circle meetings or join #maintainer-circle on Slack,
  3. And don’t forget to join the #tag-contributor-strategy channel on the CNCF Slack.

Lastly, for those who are more hands-on or need help with a specific resource, pop in on our Working Groups: Governance, Maintainer’s Circle, and Contributor Growth. Creating resources is the best way to learn and internalize open source best practices and processes. Yes, it involves actual work, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to get insights into other projects. To get involved: 

  1. Please search for the working group name, such as Contributor Growth or Governance, in the CNCF Public Events Calendar and join our effort! 

And you can always pop into one of our meetings as a one-off if you have a particular question — there’s no commitment whatsoever. In short, whether you want to be highly involved, network with peers, or use our resources, please do take advantage of this group!

Join us and help get the word out 

TAG Contributor Strategy is about more than developing resources. We aim at creating a cross-project community — a place where maintainers from different projects can connect, exchange ideas, and support one another. Managing a project can be challenging, and having a supportive community that can provide resources, advice, or maybe just listen is invaluable. Join our community, meet our team, and get involved!

Please, also help us get the word out. How? Start by sharing this blog (and our fantastic heroine illustration) on social media and telling your network about us. If you use our resources, let your peers know how useful they are. Our group is still new, and not enough projects know about us — thanks for your support!