It’s important for team cohesion and the effective running of the software project that paid contributors meet the requirements they originally pledged to fulfil [add link when ready].
We understand that sometimes life throws things at you that can impact on your contribution, and as a team we will support you through such times. However, if contributors consistently fail to meet the requirements of the paid role then a process will be undertaken to either help them improve, or to exit them from the team.
In this process, as in everything else, the Core Team will always work in a caring, empathetic way. However, we also have to recognise that sometimes, due to many different reasons, individuals don’t fit into the Core Team and there has to be a clear and effective way of dealing with this scenario when it does arise.
Common reasons a contributor loses their certification
The following circumstances have led to contributors being removed from the Core Team. It’s worth noting that it is usually a combination of these that has triggered the removal process in the past.
Lack of communication
This is the problem with the greatest impact on the team and also on the project. When a contributor does not proactively communicate with the rest of the team then we see the following problems:
- In the case where a contributor doesn’t communicate working less hours than expected (or disappearing for chunks of time), timelines are impacted. We can’t plan and track progress on features being developed, or amount of work being done.
- Technical decisions are made in isolation, without consensus from the team, and rework is often required which costs the project.
- The team can’t work together effectively, there are “lone wolves” rather than a strong pack working collectively.
- It’s worth noting that this is a problem with occasional contributors as well. Which makes it even more important for the core team to demonstrate the communication behaviours expected as part of the OFN team.
Lack of time dedicated to the project
The project requires contributors to fulfil the hours they have committed to, in order to deliver features and improvements and better meet the needs of users. When a contributor consistently works much less than they have committed then the delivery pipe isn’t as wide as it should be, deliverables are delivered later, and planned spend for the month is not met.
Lack of technical skills
Very occasionally we find that the certification process has not been adequate enough to determine a contributor’s skills in their particular domain, and the contributor lacks the ability to create value for the project. This takes into account the fact that we have contribution levels, where people join the team as beginners through to seniors. However, if improvement is not evident as time goes on then the project unfortunately can’t afford to continue supporting their growth.
Contributor change or exit process
Identifying there is a problem
As the team works together on the project, problems with a contributor’s commitment generally become obvious quite quickly. It is the responsibility of the senior Core Team members to talk to this contributor, to try and understand what is causing the problems and whether assistance can be provided to help them step back up into the role.
At this point in time the contributor has a choice to work with the team and improve their contribution. Hopefully this process removes the problem and the contributor begins to fulfill the role.
Stepping back from Core Team to go back to certified occasional contributor
When life does throw something at a contributor that impacts on their ability to dedicate enough time to the project, then they can voluntarily step back to be an occasional contributor. They are still certified, and paid for their contribution, however they are limited to working on smaller things that don’t require a timely or quick turnaround and are assigned by members of the Core Team.
If their circumstances change again and they can recommit to more time on the project then they can request to rejoin the team as a regular contributor and be included if/when budget is available for them.
Exiting a contributor
If the contributor does not improve sufficiently after the problem has been identified, then this triggers the exit process.
The contributor can choose to leave the team, if they don’t believe they can fulfil the requirements of the role moving forward.
Otherwise, the Core Team will determine based on the problems being experienced whether the contributor will change status to be a certified occasional contributor, or will lose their certification completely and no longer be paid by the project. This decision will be based on lazy consent within the Core Team.
If exited, a senior member of the Core Team will notify the contributor of the decision that has been made, and their removal from the team. The contributor will be required to submit their final invoice for the work done to that point, after which they will no longer be a paid OFN contributor.