In late May, I decided to step down from my position as a member of the OpenRefine Advisory Committee to take on the role of Project Manager. My motivation for transitioning into an operational role was to dedicate more time to improving the project governance.
Improving transparency: Since taking on this role, I have worked to make the operations of the Advisory Committee more transparent. I started sharing monthly updates following the call between the Advisory Committee and Code for Science and Society in the Day to Day Operation section of the community forum. I also created a funding page with past, current and pending grant applications.
Talking with users and contributors: I had a chance to interview over 20 users and contributors in 2023. Those hour-long conversations gave me some great insights, which I shared briefly in our community forum here. Early next year, I plan to share more from these conversations, getting into more detail on their perspective on how we can improve OpenRefine.
Applying for Grants: In the last six months, I applied for two grants to help fund our projects: the EOSS-6 grant, we will know the result in March 2024, and Mozilla Infrastructure Fund, which we did not get. You can read both grant proposal on the funding page.
New Team Members and Grant Management: September to November were busy recruitment months.
- We welcomed Zoe Cooper as a new designer (see announcement post) following a thorough recruitment process.
- We have been extending the contract to our Outreachy interns until the end of December to support the 2023 NFDI project.
- We are also in the process of bringing new members onto our advisory committee with more details coming soon in the new year.
Time Allocation challenges: I have realized that I spent most of my ten-hour workweek on administrative tasks or current priorities such as hiring or grant writing. It leaves very little time for important long-term projects. As a result, I have not made the progress I hoped for in improving the project governance, as we had initially discussed here.
Next year, with the Advisory Committee's approval, I will increase my workweek to 20 hours. It will give me more time to focus on critical areas like governance and community engagement, specifically to:
- Continue to improve transparency by creating contributor pathways and organization handbook.
- Clarify OpenRefine Mission, Vision, and Values
Following this discussion (and related conversations), I want to continue to develop contributor pathways and document OpenRefine organizational processes.
Starting in January, I will join the CSCCE Community Playbooks Workshop. This workshop will structure the approach and get feedback from leader going through a similar process with their organizations. I will regularly share my progress on this forum and seek community feedback and propositions.
Based on my conversations with contributors, it has come to my attention that OpenRefine does not have a clear direction for its future development. This lack of direction limits our ability to reach a consensus on our roadmap, particularly regarding issues such as hosting, multi-user support, and the role of extensions. This can be seen in the discussions found in Topics tagged roadmap.
Different advisors and project leaders within the CS&S ecosystem pointed out that OpenRefine's mission and vision are not clearly defined, and this may hold us back when we want to
- Attract and onboard new contributors;
- Improve communication within the community by establishing a shared set of values and expectations;
- Position OpenRefine with partners and help them understand the project direction;
- Evaluate how new ideas align with our roadmap.
To facilitate the process, the advisory committee and I have made the decision to hire a consultant who can guide the discussions within the community. We want to involve as many voices as possible to represent the diversity of our users and contributors. In the upcoming year, I will search for potential consulting firms. Any recommendations for consultants with experience working with open-source communities are welcome.
As the year draws to a close, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead these efforts and I am looking forward to what will come in 2024. I look forward to working with you and welcome your ideas, feedback, and participation. They will be critical to the contributor pathways, organization handbook, and clarification of our mission, vision, and values.
Happy New Year! Here's to an exciting year ahead.