Helen is the WordPress 4.0 release lead

Mike and I are pleased to pass the release lead baton to Helen Hou-Sandí for WordPress 4.0. I don’t think this will come as much of a surprise to most of you, but please offer @helen your congratulations, which are well-deserved.

We’ve already discussed 4.0 a bit in our last two meetings. Expect today’s weekly meeting at 2000 UTC in #wordpress-dev to be the kickoff for WordPress 4.0.

@DrewAPicture, @wonderboymusic, and @johnbillion have all been renewed for guest commit for 4.0. Additionally, I’m happy to announce that, after more than a year as guest committers, Dominik (@ocean90) and Sergey (@SergeyBiryukov) both have permanent commit access. Their prolific contributions have left a lasting mark on WordPress and I hope to see them at it for years to come.

A release lead, if anyone is curious, determines all important parameters for a release, like schedule, deadlines, which feature plugins are merged, and more generally, scope and goals. They take point when it comes to meetings, shepherding contributions, announcement posts, and updates. A release lead is a connector and facilitator, identifying bottlenecks and friction wherever they may be and at the service of the developers and plugin teams that are aiming to have something in a given release, and be in frequent communication with them.

The release lead should should follow what’s being committed, and set the tone for prioritizing and gardening the milestone on Trac. Given the constraint of time in hitting a date, help with prioritization and ensuring good communication lines are two of the most valuable things a lead can contribute.

The last five release leads were lead developers, but that’s not a requirement, nor is being a committer. I always thought of my “code reviewer” and “committer” hats as being separate, additional responsibilities. (Helen, of course, also wears these same hats.) Regardless: the release lead has the final call on all important decisions related to the release.

Addendum: For those unaware, for WordPress, version 4.0 sounds like a “big” version number but it’s just another major release for us, like 3.9 and 4.1, constructed over the same ~4-month release cycle. But don’t tell Helen that! Here’s to 4.0 being awesome.