Recently, a potential developer left their profile in the lj_biz talent pool. I obviously wanted to refer them to get an account in lj_dev and to help them towards developing with us, but I realized that we don't have any kind of link on the lj_dev page for becoming a member, or at least for the userinfo page of lj_dev. This should be fixed, since it is a obvious roadblock for people becoming developers at LiveJournal.
While I was at it, I wanted to ask a few obvious questions of all of you. We all know and appreciate how much hard work Brad has done over the last month or so to enable the LiveJournal development community to do their jobs... but what can we do personally to make it easier for you to develop for us?
There are 45 members of the community here and 78 people watching. Do any of you feel like you want to help out but don't know where to start or what to do? Is there anything that will assist you to become an active developer for LiveJournal that we have overlooked? Do we need to make the individual projects more accessible? Is there anything that we can improve from a site design/ usability standpoint?
This is fundamentally important... the more we enable people to participate in the development of LiveJournal, the better off everyone will be. There is nothing that we can do at LiveJournal that is more fundamentally important than enabling people to help us. From my perspective as a non-developer, it feels like we put too many barriers and roadblocks in the way of the people who want to assist us.
One thing that I am concerned about is that a lot of the tasks that LiveJournal developers are working on are led by just a single person. We need to make room for others to help out, whenever possible, and that means we need to create small teams who will work together on specific tasks. People who are currently LiveJournal developers should consider stepping into the role of a lead developer, and should use this community to create teams to accomplish specific goals.
I have created a lot of ideas for LiveJournal, and a lot of different teams and departments. My favorite method of handling these new projects has always been to work myself on some kind of basic implementation and then find someone who can perform the task I've created, train them to do the work, and let them take over, while I oversee what they do and offer assistance, as needed. Meanwhile, I move on to the next idea... Many of you could and should do the same. A big part of being a leader is finding, developing, and empowering talented people. LiveJournal developers should consider themselves leaders and always look for the chance to empower others to succeed. They should also consider themselves evangelists, and try to spread the word of what we are doing to their developer friends and to the open source community in general.
I have heard people criticize open source projects (and us in particular), saying that volunteer-run groups don't work and that it's easier to do the work yourself than to oversee a bunch of volunteers... that we should follow traditional business models if we want the kind of success with our software that traditional businesses have. I can assure you here and now that this is 100% pure grade-A horseshit. We have a community full of exceptional, talented people who believe in what they're doing and are willing to step up and take the lead. For those who have developed for us, I wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job and deserve a great deal of credit for the success of LiveJournal.
Ok, I've said my peace... now it's time for all of you to put in your expert opinions as to how we can make development work that much better and what we can do to really scale the size of our development. Let's get that feedback!