Ten thoughts on community leadership

How leadership in an open source community can work, in ten lessons learned


Many activities these days, be it sports, social work, arts or free and open source software, are organized in some sort of community. If backed by a respective organization, this not only helps with setting up a structure, but also puts statutes and rules in place that set forth the values and ideals all contributors should share. Inside these communities, there can be various roles. Some of them are formalized, like the board of directors or the supervisory board, others are within dynamically grown groups that can change frequently. Either of those are ideally composed of experienced and enthusiastic community members who take leadership and responsibility.

Based on my experience from the last 16 years, I’d like to point out common problems when working in an international free and open source community, share mistakes I’ve made and tell how you can hopefully avoid them.