All-women Release Squad

I recently commented on Twitter that I have a stretch goal of having a release 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 Core 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. Make 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 triage 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 release 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