What Metrics Matter: A Guide for Open Source Projects


“Without data, you’re just a person with an opinion.”

Those are the words of W. Edwards Deming, the champion of statistical process control, who was credited as one of the inspirations for what became known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to 1960. Ironically, Japanese manufacturers like Toyota were far more receptive to Deming’s ideas than General Motors and Ford were.

Community management is certainly an art. It’s about mentoring. It’s about having difficult conversations with people who are hurting the community. It’s about negotiation and compromise. It’s about interacting with other communities. It’s about making connections. In the words of Red Hat’s Diane Mueller, it’s about “nurturing conversations.”

However, it’s also about metrics and data.

Some have much in common with software development projects more broadly. Others are more specific to the management of the community itself. I think of deciding what to measure and how as adhering to five principles.

Read more at OpenSource.com