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ampersand Nevertheless

Community Leadership and People Management

How lessons learnt from community management prepared me for people management.

I gave a presentation last night at a meetup in Bergen which was essentially about people management. I was invited to share my experience from building a remote team at VIBBIO but a lot of the points I covered apply to pretty much all kinds of teams in some form.

One of the points I covered was basically how I adopted techniques I learned during my time at KDE. Later, that got me thinking about how those experiences prepared me for the work I am doing now, more than 10 years later.

It's maybe not surprising that the needs of individual contributors don't differ much: we all want to belong, feel safe, and be seen, and we want recognition for the work we do. Pretty much all I did when working with KDE and Qt communities was centred around those principles.

The struggle with written communication is pretty much the same too. Language barriers, different styles, and all kinds of missteps in tone all need constant attention and effort. I spend time and energy on moderating mailing lists and forums, and later supporting the volunteer moderators I had recruited from the community.

It's funny how things change for the better, once someone makes a conscious effort in these areas.

When it comes to building and leading the team at VIBBIO, I focus my efforts in pretty much the same areas. The only difference is my formal position as manager.