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menu options As Red Hat’s community portfolio grows, the Open Source and Standards (OSAS) team needs to shift our approach to supporting their needs. To accomplish this, the OSAS Community Outreach team will be shifting to a consultancy-style approach.

The idea for this new approach was formed a couple of years ago, when Brian Proffitt, Jason Brooks, and I were in a chocolate store down the street from the Red Hat corporate headquarters in Raleigh, brainstorming on ways we could expand the OSAS footprint.

The Community Outreach team, one of three teams within OSAS, will be taking point on many of the consultant projects. Since our portfolio is comprised of specialists (design, content, documentation, education), the idea is to use those specialties to deliver needed services to communities that need them.

Who Are Our Customers?

We will work with three sets of communities in this new focus.

Communities Directly Supported within OSAS

For the communities that have community managers within the OSAS Community Leads team, we will do an annual audit against the Community Health Checklist. Many of these items are things that won’t change, but could be improved, and an annual check-in will give us an opportunity to see where we can best boost these communities. The Health Checklist, which we will highlight in another blog entry, is coordinated with our Services Menu, outlined below.

At any time, communities are welcome to request our support based on our Services Menu. In some cases, this may mean that we direct them to the best place to receive that help, even if it is not provided directly by a Community Outreach team member.

Communities Outside of OSAS

The many other communities important to Red Hat’s success but not directly supported within OSAS are also welcome to request an audit or services in the same way, but audits will not be automatically interviewed annually.

New Communities

When new Red Hat communities arrive, either by creation within Red Hat or acquisition, we will prioritize their health against the Checklist, then subsequently treat them accordingly as above based on their OSAS support level.

Services Menu

So what services are we offering? As a team, all of OSAS got together and determined what we could directly offer, and what we knew could refer projects to if need be.

Project Overview and Basics

These tools and topics represent basic needs for a healthy community. Where they are lacking or exist but need improvement, we can provide assistance getting them going.

  • Project strategy
    • Define goals for project
    • Based on goals, define objectives, and strategies
    • Teach communities to build process roadmaps
  • Bug tracking system
  • Project definition statement on website
  • Contributor-licensing statement or agreement
  • Governance model
  • Code of conduct
  • Legal audit
    • An OSI-approved open source license
    • License review of codebase
    • License compatibility
  • Documentation
    • Content strategy (new or revised)
    • Content audit
    • Documentation quick-starts
    • Sprint organization
    • Tool/platform recommendations
  • Metrics
  • Create central place to track metrics
  • Discuss what metrics mean and why (how do you figure out what metrics you need and what questions you are answering)
  • Build appropriate metrics questions


Advocacy of any project is key to its success. OSAS can roll out a variety of tools to assist with getting the word out about what your community is doing.

  • Project branding and identity
    • Marketing strategy
      • Market/segment research
      • Branding and style guide
    • Messaging
      • Define audiences, messages, and channels
      • Messaging strategy
    • Swag
  • Social media presence
    • Create name / profile page
    • Set up metrics to central feed
    • Advise on long-term maintenance
  • Community events strategy
    • Launch events
    • Increase events per month
    • Define how/when to have a presence at larger events for optimal ROI
  • Case studies


While the OSAS Community Outreach team does not necessarily provide all of these services directly, we can make recommendations as needed.

  • Project website
    • Create website
    • Website content maintenance plan
    • Improve existing website
    • Different aspects/skills: design, organization/IA, copy creation
    • Define editorial workflow (lifecycle management)
  • Project blog
    • Launch blog
    • Increase number of posts per month
    • Decrease shortest interval between blog posts
  • Mailing list
    • Create mailing list
    • Organize existing mailing lists
    • Auto-responders
  • IRC channels/Chat
    • Implement IRC channels
    • Implement other chat platform
    • Recommendations for optimizing use of chat platform (e.g., zodbot-type assistant)
  • Password Storage
    • Secure storage of community/upstream social media and infrastructure passwords
  • Surveys
    • Regular surveys
    • User feedback groups
    • Optimize feedback processes

This menu is very comprehensive, though we recognize that is is open to expansion as communities come to us with more needs. Right now, these services are focused on assisting Red Hat-based communities, but we hope this can serve as a model for other organizations to follow when examining their communities’ health and figuring out what elements of a project need the most help.

Image courtesy of Max Pixel, released under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication.

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