[I emailed this to some people a month ago, but it’s better as a Talk post, so I’m copy-pasting.]
An ill-formed thought that I wanted to get written down while it’s still fresh:
Years ago when something was a “core OpenMRS priority that needs to be addressed now”, then we could assign some concrete people to work on it. (And we could count on >3.5 FTEs across me, Wyclif, Daniel, and Rafal. Maybe more when Rafal had a dedicated SolDevelo team.)
Further, our core tech team of folks who consistently join design calls, and try to coordinate our technical direction, is also shrinking. The typical group is Burke, Wyclif, Daniel, and I.
And the alarming thing is that these are all “old folks”, and I’m not aware of a pipeline to get more people in the mix.
I’ve spent quite a few hours this week trying to find someone to test out the Sync 2 work that SolDevelo has done, and my impression is that there are lot of things being blocked by blockers that are actually quite small, but just aren’t the priority of any particular implementation. (And I think this pattern is repeated all over.) So I’m wanting to call on “core devs” to do things, but I feel like our ability to do that is small and dwindling.
I can think of several responses, and I think we should pursue several in parallel.
Get more core devs in the same old way (I don’t know if there’s a plan to replace Rafal at RI with someone who would have any time allocated to OpenMRS or not.)
Explicitly make someone the full-time “Lead Community Dev”. Presumably this is a paid position and should be included in our Digital Square ask. (I’m thinking something a bit analogous to Lars for DHIS2.)
Try out the idea of a rotating “OpenMRS Fellowship”: someone who gets stipend-level pay, to spend 6 months working on OpenMRS community-priority work. Could be funded out of Pineapple, and maybe we can find some matching funds and/or people in Nairobi, Kampala, etc, to donate office space. I will propose this once there’s a mechanism for proposing projects to do with Pineapple funding.
Improve communication/coordination with active community developers to try to get them more interested in community-prioritized tickets. (I guess this is mainly not all the old /dev/5s but there are newer folks who could do more. I don’t know who they are though, or how best to engage. E.g. it would be nice to analyze whether there are people who are active on IRC/telegram and who are also making a lot of commits.)
…on top of that, get people (or their employers) to commit that they can do X hours per month of community-prioritized work, and try to organize around this.
Get a technical PM, who can find inventive ways to get partner orgs to do this community-prioritized work (either by realizing it’s on their roadmap anyway, or horse-trading “if you do X I can get this other org to do Y, which you need”).
Anyway, I’m going to click Send now so that I can go back to working on [something that was relevant a month ago]…