Recap of the Contributor Working Group’s Mentorship Chat on August 18, 2023

In attendance: @adityakane @oglekler @yoga1103  @st810amaze @onealtr @tobifjellner @javiercasares @sereedmedia @mysweetcate  @harishanker @patriciabt @webtechpooja @peiraisotta @coachbirgit @sumitsingh @kafleg @topher1kenobe @desrosj @matteoenna @ninianepress @wpdelower @kartiks16 @bycecaelia @sunitarai @unintended8 @jominney

Notes: @harishanker


Meeting Start

Evaluating our Mentorship Program’s Pilot Cohort

We started off by thanking all group members for their contributions in making the program a success, and celebrated some of our major wins such as being featured in WP Tavern and the Torque Magazine’s Press this podcast. Key wins for the program include:

  • 50 applicants applied to the program, of which 13 were selected as mentees.
  • 12 participants completed the required Learn WordPress courses – at an 89% completion rate.
  • 11 participants formally graduated from the program so far
  • The program was held alongside WordPress 6.3 and participants got a bird’s eye view of the WordPress release.
  • Two mentees got coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. contribution badges for their work.
  • Together, mentees contributed nearly 2000 strings to multiple locales.
  • Contributions were made to several other teams including Training, Docs, Photos, Support, Test, and Training.
  • We have prepared reusable training materials (onboarding videos) for several Make/Teams as part of the program which are available for everyone. 

Additionally, even though only 13 mentees formally participated in the program, several others joined along as our program’s progress was broadcast in the public #contributor-mentorship.

Next, group members were asked to share feedback on the program, especially along the lines of what did and did not work well, what could be improved, our biggest wins and opportunities, among others.

What worked well

  • @coachbirgit: “The interest into the pilot program was overwhelmingly high and I loved to see how many workshops were provided on short hand for this besides the already prepared material on
  •  @adityakane: “That it had enough room to be not over structured helped participants to find their way and also feed their curiosity along with knowing how to contribute.” 
  • @tobifjellner: “We gathered energy, feedback and insights. Created something new and welcoming in several “make” teams.”
  • @kafleg: “The biggest achievement is we did it. As I said before, not matter how many contributors we’ll get in the long term, but we believe that it will be a basement for many contributors.”
  • @javiercasares: “As a whole, I think it was a great pilot program and mentees are happy to participated.”
  • @oglekler: “ I am really pleased about our mentees, amazing people. And I am eager to do it again. ✨ Timing was perfect when the whole program went alongside the release to its finish nose to nose.”
  •  @ninianepress: “I loved how we all came together on this and so many people stepped up and did so much to make this happen, like you @harishanker and so many! Thank you!! I loved how mentees got a Google doc with a checklist on what to accomplish. It made things SO much easier as a mentorEvent Supporter Event Supporter (formerly Mentor) is someone who has already organised a WordCamp and has time to meet with their assigned mentee every 2 weeks, they talk over where they should be in their timeline, help them to identify their issues, and also identify solutions for their issues. since there was a clear path. My mentee was super awesome and super self-motivated 🎉 so it made things vastly easier for me. I also loved how there were Zoom check-ins.”
  • @mysweetcate: “ the program seemed to work exactly as needed and intended. I built a bond with my person, was able to encourage her as she encountered the bumps of getting started, and she was able to find her way to areas of contribution that she enjoyed.”

What did not work well about the program?

  • @coachbirgit: “The zoom sessions or upcoming workshops were often announced at too short notice. The 90-day-plan template would have been nice to have on hand before the cohort ended. (or I may have missed the where-abouts)”
  • @adityakane: “Cannot think of anything specific. Maybe it felt hurried to me, and since it was the pilot cohort, there were no follow up cohorts for someone to skip midway and join another one.”
  • @tobifjellner: “People have more or less, and different hours available. Huge kudo to Hari for the energy of running stuff twice every time. Still: perhaps we need to make more of this work well in an async setting.”
  • @oglekler: “The last to weeks were very impacted with events, I am wondering if we can have something like “Part 2: Advanced program” For Core it would be nice to have at least 1 more dedicated session – about creating a patch and 1 video tutorial about local envs installation (it will be quite boring as an online session and need to cover different OSs).” 

 What could be improved about the program?

  • @coachbirgit: “It would be nice to have a learning path especially for the mentorship cohorts and a calendar view of the live sessions in advance”
  • @adityakane: “We haven’t been using GithubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. for this Working Group – and we really should. Also it could be a nice onboarding for mentees to get used to using Github in our spaces.”
  • @tobifjellner: “It felt a bit rushed in time. And I think a slightly bigger group might have created more energy. Introduction workshops to various teams would need to be planned a bit more beforehand. At least my introduction (to Polyglots) had very low attendance when it happened, but I hope the recording will still help more people to get started.”
  • @javiercasares: “I think we need to have like, 2 line of work. One, the things we know (like the onboardings and everything set up before the new cohort starts) and, the other is the “real-time” events. The first one need to be exceptionally organized (I thing we improvised a little with that). All good, but some place to improve 😀 Having the calendar helped a lot 😛 (at least for me, my agenda is crazy and helped me to set my personal / profesional meetings)”
  • @topher1kenobe: “I would love some more “definition of success”.  I don’t think itll be the same for each mentee either, it’s something to be determined by the mentor and mentee together. For example, I only met with my mentee a few times, and felt like maybe I wasn’t doing a good job.  But I was actually fulfilling her needs as she saw them quite perfectly. but I didn’t KNOW that.  So establishing what Success looks like near the beginning would be good.”
  • @mysweetcate: “I would recommend giving access to the learning content in stages. My person did an excellent job of getting everything done early, but then was kind of waiting around for next steps (which she and I discussed). Dripping the content out more could help keep momentum up.”
  • @bycecaelia: “It would also help some of us cough cough people like myself lol to not get too overwhelmed with too much info at once (and might help with storing things in long-term memory? maybe)”
  • @kafleg: “About the suggestion, we need to followup the mentees what they are doing, if they need any help or guidance etc.”

What are our biggest wins from the program?

  • @coachbirgit: “The awareness of seasoned contributors that new contributors might struggle to find their way without guidance. The program displayed were we can improve our contributor documentation.”
  • @adityakane: “Looks like all the mentees responded very well to the learning courses and also did some sort of contributions. So that was a big win.”
  • @tobifjellner: “It’s great that we start thinking project-wide on how to make it easier to discover contributing and getting started.”
  • @oglekler: “The biggest win is yet to come. We need to stay in touch with our mentees and make this sustainable by itself.”

Pending steps for our mentorship program
Our cohort has a few pending action items left: 

  • Share a post-event survey for mentees and mentorsEvent Supporter Event Supporter (formerly Mentor) is someone who has already organised a WordCamp and has time to meet with their assigned mentee every 2 weeks, they talk over where they should be in their timeline, help them to identify their issues, and also identify solutions for their issues. (@nao @sereedmedia and @ninianepress are working on it
  • Create a draft contribution plan document to encourage mentees to continue ongoing contributions.
  • Create and assign badges to mentors, mentees, and facilitators’ The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. profiles (we already have a tracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub. request for badges and are waiting for the MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. team to help us with this). 
  • Follow-up with mentees after three months to check-in and see how they are doing. 

@ninianepress @sereedmedia @adityakane and @javiercasares offered to help out with these tasks.

Next Steps for our Working Group

Since the pilot is over, the group has decided to start working on next steps. We explored the next project(s) we should focus on, and got the following responses from group members:

  • @oglekler: “We can plan the next program and Advanced program(s) for different teams. We can start on October 11 and finish the day after release, November 8th Hopefully we will be able to make the full schedule and plans beforehand.”
  • @coachbirgit:
    • “I’d love to see a dedicated handbook section for facilitators, mentors and mentees. Since its an overarching program, I wonder if there would be a good place to create  a handbook on make/Projects as the other teams have. This will also help to run local editions
    • I’d imagine having a mentorship section in each make/Team handbook referring to team-specific mentorship actions and activities
    • we should definitely do another cohort this year. I imagine at least one each quarter of the year for a global mentorship cohort.”
  • @kafleg: “I see the community in Japan is organizing the community-building workshop. I think we can communicate with the local community to do some meetupsMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. especially focused on contribution and mentorship programs. Every local community has an experienced contributor who can guide the new contributors. We can manage some credits or attribution (like giving badges). We need to get involved in the local community to make it successful. P.S. We are doing a webinar weekly basis on how to contribute. We can run something similar in every local communities. Contribution is always proactive. But as community leaders, we can show them some chocolate and cookies to motivate them.
  • @oglekler: “Possibly some materials can be provided to local meetups for translation and adaptation, like slides or scripts for the talk “
  • @adityakane: “I agree with @kafleg
    • We could start making some plans on outreach to local communities with a focus on involving students.
    • We could also increase our focus on “skill development” as a vital part of career development for people getting involved or contributing (especially in this economic climate it seems like an oppurtunity)
    • On things we can do right away:
      • Mentor Program handbook
      • A mentorship program landing page
      • Plans to have several more cohorts – if we are planning one — maybe we should plan two side by side — one belayed by 2-3 weeks and see how that dynamic plays off.”
  • @javiercasares: “About the “local” contributions, I think the main problem will be having people for “all the teams”. For example, doing the global explanation (the two first weeks) will be easy, but we will have some limitations about the teams. In Spain, for example, I think there won’t be any problem with Polyglots (also, trying to expand not only to Spanish, but Catalan, Euskera, Galego, Asturiano, Aragonese…), There are key people who knows about some teams, but we will depend on those key people (AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (, Design, Documentation…) and that may be the stopper… Probably we should have like a mentoring for mentors  so we can have like a quick understand on what we can ask for mentors to do, timing. The students part is one of the reason we are creating an Association in Spain, so we can “officially” approach schools and everything, bacause if you don’t have have an organization, you can do proactically anything with them ”
  • @mysweetcate: “I am definitely in favor of another cohort. Particularly with WCUSWCUS WordCamp US. The US flagship WordCamp event. happening and likely to spark new contributor interest.”
  • @ninianepress: “What if we kept up a regular rotation and kept a waiting list. We could just keep bringing people through the program for who ever wants to do it. I think a doc where we collect feedback and ideas async is a great idea for next steps. To bring this to local communities, what about doing something similar to Apple and their Genius Bar in their stores. At local meetups, we can have a designated mentor going to onboard people into the program. Maybe sort of similar to tables at Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. if the meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. is large enough. I agree. I think if we set up regular, planned cohorts on a regular rotation, it would be so great! 
  • @sereedmedia: “IMO cohort-based instead of on-demand is better for outcomes and sustainability.

Questions thoughts and Open Floor

@coachbirgit highlighted work happening on the DEIB working group, and asked for help from the contributor working group on creating a primer for the mentorship program a on how it applies to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. She is hosting a session on the same at the Community Summit, and has shared an agenda for preparation. Remote participation is also welcome in SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at on the #deib-working-group Slack channel – details can be found in the agenda task issue in GitHub

The Contributor Working Group is also considering an informal meeting at WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. US on the contributor day (August 24th). 

#contributor-working-group #mentorship-program #wpcontributors #meeting-notes

#mentorship-chat, #mentorship-chat-recap