Developer Communities and their Impact – Panel (Droidcon)

The best session I attended on Wednesday – day one of Droidcon.ke – was “Developer Communities and their Impact” – (Wayne Gakuo, Tabitha Kavyu, Naamini Yonazi, Eric Ampire ) – Moderators – Jacqui Gitau

The panelists are community managers in various communities, in various countries, and had a lot of great insight for the audience. I just wanted to highlight a few of these.

Tabitha talked about how people new to communities will try to emulate prominent community leaders, and as a result the communities become a cult of personality, rather than a diverse community of individuals. She stressed that community participation is a process, and that you should embrace where you are in that process. Don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself. And this isn’t just for yourself, but for the health of the community as a whole. Communities draw strength from the diversity of individuals.

Eric talked about burnout and delegation. He said it’s so important not to make yourself indispensable, or you will never have a free moment ever again. Ensure that if you take a week off, things keep happening. If nothing can happen when you’re not there, then you have failed as a community leader. Delegate, and then let people fail, or do it in their own way – don’t yank it back, or you will, once again, ensure that you are the bottleneck of all community activity.

This is definitely a mistake that I have made in the past – setting up process such that nothing could happen without me. And this is indeed a recipe for burnout.

I wish I had taken more notes. Wayne and Naamini also had great insights, and this was the highlight of the event for me.

Not that I’d want to take these folks from their communities, but if you’re looking for community managers, these four really get it.

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