17 Tips for Your First Open Source Community Sprint

By Salesforce.org | February 6, 2018 | Conferences & Events, Higher Ed Data Architecture, Higher Education, Nonprofit, Volunteer Management

By: The Salesforce.org Community Team

Salesforce.org is proud to host its first combined Open Source Community Sprint that encompasses all of its Open Source Products: NPSP, HEDA and Volunteers For Salesforce!

What’s an Open Source Community Sprint?

It’s all about you! During the two-day event, the community of admins, implementation partners, app partners, and developers will come together with a common goal of making the ecosystem around our open source products better for everyone else (lots of laughs and caffeine included too). You don’t need to be a developer. Bring your laptop, your ideas and a collaborative spirit!

What will you specifically work on?

That’s up to you! If you are expecting to be talked at all day while you stare at PowerPoint slides, this is not the event for you. We have some topic suggestions, but what you work on and how you do it is decided by you and your fellow attendees at the Sprint.

Open Source Community Sprint
Photo credit: Ryan Ozimek of Soapbox Engage

Still not sure if it’s right for you? Nervous because you’re a first-timer?

We asked the Power of Us Community to share their tips with first-time sprinters… take a look at what they had to say!

    “It’s ok to be nervous as a first timer! Acknowledge that you’ll be slightly uncomfortable if you’re used to a structured environment, and try to go with the flow. Be open to meeting new people, and take the time to introduce yourselves to those you don’t yet know. I think this will be especially important at the next sprint where we’re combining HEDA and NPSP groups.” – Cori O’Brien, iATS Payments

    “Don’t think you have to be a developer to contribute to the open source community! Sprints are a meeting of the minds – a story in the making – a vision taking shape. You are the ones telling the story! You are the hero on this adventure!” – Jace Bryan, Salesforce.org

    “As much as possible don’t do your regular work during the Sprint. And, don’t hesitate to talk about your organization’s needs. As a nonprofit or higher ed user, you know better than anyone what happens inside your organization.” – Ashima Saigal, Database Sherpa

    “Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.” – Brad Struss, Bigger Boat Consulting

    “Don’t be intimidated by “louder” or “more experienced” voices in the room. EVERYONE has something valuable to offer, especially when your use of NPSP differs from the norm – if you had to adapt it, there’s probably someone else in the room that needed that same adaption and that can lead to positive changes in the platform.” – Debra Van Zegeren, Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation

    “If you are on the fence about sprinting, consider that thousands of organizations and institutions and their millions of constituents are going to benefit from your contributions – this entire multitude of worthy missions will be powered up by you! Pretty cool multiplier, right!?! It is a very rare in the world of technology (or anything) that so few gather to positively impact so many.” – Corey Snow, Harvard University

    “Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself. Be fully present (+1 to the suggestion about leaving your regular work behind). And enjoy the chance to hang with the nonprofit Salesforce crowd. (We’re a different bunch!)” – Michael Kolodner, Spark Program

    “Sprints are an amazing opportunity to engage the community. Network, befriend, and share your aspirations. People in the room truly want to see each other succeed. Bring: Tylenol/Advil, your chargers, an understanding of challenges you face, and the knowledge that following up with the many people you meet after the sprint is part of the job and can be the most rewarding afterwards. Ready, set, SPRINT!” – Amir Tejani, Lafayette College

    “Going to a sprint is like getting on the train between destinations to improve the train for the next riders going to the next destination. Everyone can enjoy the ride and contribute to the experience of the train. And great satisfaction comes from knowing that we aren’t talking about a defined project but incrementally making progress on technical and non-technical fronts while enjoying a group of like-minded people on the journey. Anyway, that’s what makes a community sprint unique and there are few things like it in the world of technology.” – Dale McCrory, Lingk

    “You can definitely help, no matter your skill level.” – Ben Childers, Engaging Networks

    “Even though you may have topics in mind, don’t be worried about abandoning them and moving on to something else interesting. Be willing to share your experiences with groups on a topic you’re interested in, it doesn’t take an expert to help. Ask questions, some of the greatest ideas in the community and the best topics for building on have come out of a simple question. Just be yourself, there’s all types at the sprints and veterans will help the new people connect.” – Mark Adcock, Independent Consultant

    “Talk to/get to know as many people as you can. Building relationships is one of the most rewarding parts of the Salesforce community. Also, go with the flow. Don’t feel like you’re tied-down with one group. If you see/hear about something that you’re passionate about, get involved!” – Kyle Schmid, Huron Consulting Group

    “Don’t be afraid to ask questions or contribute an idea that you’re not quite sure is right. At the first HEDA sprint, we had newbies and veterans collaborating comfortably because all were there to help the community learn/know/succeed/scale HEDA.” – Kathy Lueckeman, Maryville University of Saint Louis

    “Don’t skip any socializing set up for after the sprint if you can manage the energy, even if you are a big introvert (I don’t know *anyone* like that, ahem). Having social conversations outside the focused work of the sprint is invaluable. And build time for follow-up activities into your plan for getting involved; don’t just do the sprint and then disengage. It’s very rewarding to stay involved as best you can.” – Barbara Christensen, Percolator Consulting

    “Come with an open mind and a generous spirit. First timers and those new to Salesforce or even those new to Nonprofit or Higher Ed work prove just as useful and productive as veterans! Great people don’t be shy.” – Bill Florio, New Leaders

    “No need for a rehearsed presentation or any prepared materials, this is an opportunity to walk in with an open mind and focus on the moment.” – Florence Parodi, University of Miami

    “If you are confused, don’t hide it! Being confused is the point if you are there to solve problems. If everyone knew how to do everything, there would be no point in having sprints. If you’re confused, and you can explain it well, then you’re already an expert!” – Samantha Shain, William Penn Foundation


Want to join the fun? Register today or learn more about the Community Sprint experience. We also strongly encourage you to join the Open Source Community Sprint Group in the Power of Us Hub.

Can’t make this sprint? Keep an eye on the calendar for the next one!

The Power of Us Hub is an online community for Salesforce.org customers, certified partners and staff. The Hub is a place for you to get answers, build your Salesforce skills, share your expertise and connect with others in the nonprofit, higher education and K-12 sectors who are using Salesforce!

Register for Community Sprint