This document is a guide to inclusivity for leaders involved in the Kubeflow project. It describes conscious efforts and behavior patterns that contribute to an inclusive environment where Kubeflow members feel safe to collaborate.
The Kubeflow community is a global group of contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds. As such, leaders are expected to take purposeful steps to ensure sustainability of the collaborative space. This is essential for project health and future growth. We expect all community members, and especially leaders, to practice and grow in the areas covered in this document.
Carve out space
Carve out well-defined spaces for contribution. Encourage members of the community to engage in these spaces. Reach out to specific individuals to let them know you think they would be a good fit.
Get out of the way
Get out of the way when someone steps up. Give them ownership and set expectations for delivery and accountability. Follow up on those expectations. If you have concerns or need more information, increase the frequency of communication rather than taking over or overstepping.
Seek out situations that provide opportunities for members of the community. Examples of this include connecting event organizers with potential speakers, introducing leaders to individual contributors, and inviting others to collaborate. Consciously drive the creation of opportunities in areas that community members want to grow in.
Ask members where they want to grow
Find out which areas community members want to grow in. This could be in the form of 1:1 conversations, small groups, or weekly meetings. Ask how you can help.
Rather than making assumptions and assigning tasks, ask people where they want to contribute and help them figure out how to make the most impact. Stretch them just enough that they can see progress and sustained growth.
Empower members to say no
Make it clear that members are empowered to turn down opportunities. Encourage them to define their own boundaries and give them space to assert those boundaries. Communicate that it is their responsibility to balance their commitments and that they will be supported in doing so. Before presenting a specific opportunity to an individual, provide a disclaimer that it is perfectly acceptable to say no.
Encourage members to ask for what they want
Encourage members of the community to make requests. That could be for improvements to the product, community, or their own personal growth. Respond to these requests with kindness and fairness.
Ask for volunteers and make time for the community to bring up topics they care about.
Explicitly call out challenges
Name specific challenges that affect members of the community and state your position on how to resolve them. Make statements such as, "I understand how difficult it must be to X," and "I wish you didn't have to face such blatant challenges doing Y." Offer advice on how to deal with them or just be there to commiserate.
Simply acknowledging the struggle is an act of empathy that makes it easier to face these challenges. This is a means of lightening the load on underrepresented groups by not requiring them to shoulder these burdens silently.
Give clear, specific, and actionable feedback
Be proactive about providing feedback, but ask first and be kind. Include concrete steps that can be taken to improve the outcome and steer clear of criticism involving something that cannot be reasonably changed.
Treat everyone with respect
Set an example and uphold that standard. Do not tolerate double standards or casual deprecation, even in jest. Ensure that community members understand the group is open to everyone.
Follow up on complaints
When you observe a code of conduct violation or become aware of one, follow through on enforcing community standards. Do this with care, showing respect and kindness for everyone involved. These instances have a broader impact than just the involved parties, since they set downstream expectations for the entire community.
This is a responsibility that the Kubeflow project does not take lightly, since it directly impacts the ability of members to feel safe in the community.
Indicators of success
It can be difficult to assess whether these efforts are effective. In many ways, success can be invisible since it involves the prevention of conflict. A few indicators are:
- Diverse membership across various dimensions (geographic, corporate, level of experience, etc.)
- Presence of members from frequently marginalized groups
- Continued engagement by long-term members
- Sentiment within the community that ideas are heard and contributions valued
- Accountability of leaders by members
The origins of this document are an enumeration of efforts by project cofounder David Aronchick. This was not a solo effort and included support from Jeremy Lewi, Michelle Casbon, Edd Wilder-James, and other members of the team.