All-women Release Squad

I recently commented on Twitter that I have a stretch goal of having a releaseRelease A release is the distribution of the final version of an application. A software release may be either public or private and generally constitutes the initial or new generation of a new or upgraded application. A release is preceded by the distribution of alpha and then beta versions of the software. squad that is all women by the end of 2020. With the work I’ve been doing to prepare for my upcoming sabbatical, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about how to do this and what I hope it accomplishes.

What’s the Goal?

The primary goal of any release cycle is to ship a stable and enhanced version of the WordPress CMS, but for the past year or so we’ve also been sharing the procedural work with a team of people. I affectionately refer to them as the release squad.

My hope is that with a release squad comprised entirely of people who identify as women, we’ll be able to increase the number women who have that experience and (hopefully) become returning contributors to CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. and elsewhere. This doesn’t mean the release will only contain contributions from women. And if our current squad training process is any indication, it also doesn’t mean that we’re asking a squad to show up and do this without support.

What’s the Plan?

I have a list of about 75 women who raised their hands to participate in this release squad. I think that we can use the current squad training process (ride along, navigate while someone drives, drive while someone navigates) to progressively level up everyone’s skills. Stepping away at any time is an option as long as it’s communicated. 🙂

So far, this is the broad idea for how we will get there:

  1. Prepare and Plan
    1. Makemake A collection of P2 blogs at make.wordpress.org, which are the home to a number of contributor groups, including core development (make/core, formerly "wpdevel"), the UI working group (make/ui), translators (make/polyglots), the theme reviewers (make/themes), resources for plugin authors (make/plugins), and the accessibility working group (make/accessibility). sure the timing works for anyone who already volunteered.
    2. Determine current skills and team involvement.
    3. Reach out proactively to gather additional people where I don’t have quite enough.
    4. Gather groups and group mentors.
  2. Ride Along on Release 5.5
    1. Join triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. sessions, meetings, etc and ask every question.
  3. Navigate Release 5.5.x
    1. Collaborate with the 5.5 release squad to navigate a point releaseMinor Release A set of releases or versions having the same minor version number may be collectively referred to as .x , for example version 5.2.x to refer to versions 5.2, 5.2.1, 5.2.3, and all other versions in the 5.2 (five dot two) branch of that software. Minor Releases often make improvements to existing features and functionality. and ask every question.
  4. Drive Release 5.6
    1. Drive the release while collaborating with some long-time women contributors.

How Can You Help?

The preparation for this will be a big undertaking, but probably just as much training effort as any other release squad I’ve worked with. It’s still a stretch goal, but I figure the best way to get there is to get started. I’m interested to hear from:

  • Anyone who wants to be a mentor or part of the release process.
  • Anyone who has a little extra time to help me with the preparation.
  • Anyone who has questions about how this will work. 🙂

#5-6 #planning