We help free and open source software projects work through challenges related to sustainability, governance, and participation.

Our mission is to help communities and organizations prosper by developing: effective governance structures, inclusive participation pathways, and sustainable business models.

Areas of Expertise

Governance

We have 15+ years experience contributing to, building, and leading open source communities. We've worked with every kind of technology organization: startups, tiny non-profits, ad hoc groups, and well-established projects with corporate backing. We know good governance. And we know it's not a one size fits all situation: Every community is unique and needs an approach to governance tailored for it according to its mission, history, demographics, and more.

Whether you're part of a fledgling open source community or a long-established project, we can help you realize the governance that help you reach your goals with an effective use of resources.

Sustainability

Our work with free and open source software projects over the years has taught us that sustainability has become a major concern. Nearly all project leaders want a plan for making projects sustainable in the long-term and most of them struggle to develop and implement an appropriate one. We're here to help.

Funding is a big factor in sustainability, but not the only one. Governance and participation, our other two areas of expertise are also vitally important.

We apply our broad experience working with free and open source software projects to help project leads develop long-term sustainability plans for their communities, including business model development when appropriate.

Participation

Because we've spent over a decade contributing to and leading open source communities, we know they thrive on participation and we know how to build for that participation.

We have an award-winning approach to building diverse and inclusive communities. We co-authored the Citizen Code of Conduct, which is now used by many events and projects. We've built hyper-local participatory communities with Stumptown Syndicate as well as global ones with Mozilla, Zulip, and NumFOCUS.

Whether you're wanting to attract your first contributors, revitalize a long-standing project, or make your project more welcoming and inclusive, we can help.

Questions? Comments?

We love hearing from you!

Services

Event Design

We have years of experience designing and producing fun, community-oriented events, including the annual Open Source Bridge conference and BarCamp Portland.

Whether you want to build community, engage customers, develop new products creatively, or energize stakeholders, produce an awesome event with our event design concierge service. Or, build-up your in-house event expertise with our event planning workshop series.

Want to get an idea of what you'll learn in one of our workshops? Get a free copy of our event planning guide.

Research & Consulting

Whether you want to focus specifically on sustainability, governance, and/or participation, we help you develop new ways of understanding and overcoming the challenges your project is confronting. Not sure which of those areas you need to focus on? We can help you figure that out. Trying to come up with a business plan or a long-term organizational home for your project? We can help with that.

Topics we love to help with: Short- and long-term sustainability plans; selecting a business entity and governance structure; developing a leadership pipeline and succession plan; designing highly participatory, community focused in-person events; improving the contributor pipeline; crisis management.

Facilitation

Deepen your practice around sustainability, governance, and participation through our fun, participatory workshops and other facilitated gatherings.

Based on our knowledge and experience with facilitation methods ranging from Open Space Technology to Future Search, we work with your stakeholders to custom-tailor and run in-person gatherings for your organization/community.

What can you accomplish with these types of meetings? The possibilities are many, including: Solve a particular problem; build consensus and do long-term strategic planning; increase fundraising, leadership, governance or community building capacity within your team.

Ready to learn more about how we can help?

Featured Posts

Who Really Matters: Your Inner Core Group

Summary: Our earliest experiences with Core Groups stay with us and become generalized. That is, without effort, we perceive and interact with all future Core Groups as if they were like the first ones we encountered. This hinders us from seeing the Core Groups of our...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & Diversity

Summary: Without effort, most Core Groups will tend toward the homogeneous and exclusionary. While you might derive strength though cohesion of an insular, non-diverse group, how do you know you aren’t missing something important as a result? Diversity is a key way to...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & the CEO’s Choices

Summary: As CEO, you have formal authority, but it is constrained by guesswork as well as the priorities of the rest of the Core Group. The best way to use your power as CEO is to create the conditions out of which a great Core Group forms and operates. Who Really...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & Expanded Core Groups

Summary: Some successful organizations have an “expanded Core Group,” meaning nearly everyone is part of the Core Group. The nature of these organizations varies, at each of them everybody’s welfare and development is one of the entire organization’s top priorities....

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & Welchism

Summary: Jack Welch-style management can be an effective antidote to complacent bureaucracies. Unfortunately it can also easily take the warmth out of a business and leave fractured and isolated Core Group with little ability to inspire commitment, foster quality, and...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & Incentives, Targets, and Measurements

Who Really Matters (Amazon, Goodreads, Powells) puts forth the theory that central to every organization is a Core Group of people who really matter. This post is part of a series summarizing the book and covers Part 2, Chapter 9: "Doggie Treats" (Incentives, Targets,...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & Guesswork

Who Really Matters (Amazon, Goodreads, Powells) puts forth the theory that central to every organization is a Core Group of people who really matter. This post is part of a series summarizing the book and covers Chapter 8: Guesswork . You may want to start with the...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & A Core Group Way of Knowledge

Who Really Matters (Amazon, Goodreads, Powells) puts forth the theory that central to every organization is a Core Group of people who really matter. This post is part of a series summarizing the book and covers Part 2: Leading the Core Group, Chapter 7. You may want...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory & Employees of Mutual Consent

Who Really Matters (Amazon, Goodreads, Powells) puts forth the theory that central to every organization is a Core Group of people who really matter. This post is part of a series summarizing the book and covers Chapter 6: Employees of Mutual Consent. You may want to...

Who Really Matters: Core Group Theory, Power, and Legitimacy

Who Really Matters (Amazon, Goodreads, Powells) puts forth the theory that central to every organization is a Core Group of people who really matter. This post is part of a series summarizing the book and covers Chapter 5: Power & Legitimacy . You may want to start...