Project Update: The Guide Program’s First Month

The Guide Program was launched by the Training Team at the beginning of September 2023. This program empowers new contributors to the Training Team by providing them with comprehensive training resources and opportunities to strengthen their skills, through mentorship with experienced contributors. For more details about the program, please see the Guide Program handbook, and for further background, see the original proposal post.

In this post, we’ll go over the key aspects of this program, and recap its launch. We’ll also share some feedback and learnings from the first month of the program, including potential next steps.

Guide Program Goals

  • Provide a structured and effective onboarding process for new contributors to the program
  • Provide leadership opportunities for experienced Training Team members
  • Foster a supportive and inclusive learning environment within the Training Team
  • Help new contributors to the Training Team learn how to leverage their skills and identify their area(s) of contribution
  • Inspire and empower community members to contribute to the Training Team and share their expertise

Pilot Launch and Setup

At the beginning of September, we matched 9 new contributors with one of 5 Guides. If a Guide was supporting multiple contributors, some chose to run the program as a cohort, but many worked one-on-one with them.

For this pilot month, the program closely followed the structure in the Guide Program Handbook, but we also ended up integrating some additional processes that were inspired by the excellent Contributor Mentorship program:

  • A dedicated, public SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at channel was created for everyone participating in the program to connect with each other, including all new contributors and guides.
    • A weekly thread in this channel was made at the end of each week to call for individual learnings, wins, and challenges.
    • All contributors and Guides were encouraged to connect with each other in this channel outside of the weekly thread.
    • With a public channel, anyone in the community is also welcome to join the channel to observe and support the participants.
  • A private Slack channel was created for Guides to discuss the program, and support each other in their roles.

How did the Guide Program do?

At the end of September, a feedback form was shared with participants. As of October 16, we have received 6 responses to this form. The following information was gathered from this form, as well as from Slack conversations, so the below activity might not be comprehensive.

Contributions made by participants

  • 3 Translations made
  • 1 Meeting notes taken
  • 8 Tutorials reviewed
  • 1 Training Contributor badge earned
  • 1 Translation Contributor badge earned

Success Stories

Most of the respondents to the feedback form feel more confident and prepared to contribute to WordPress! Below is a selection of success stories we’ve heard from our newest contributors.

I was the meeting note taker at the 26th September and will try to do it once a month. Also, learnt how to translate and review content. I will stick to the training team and attend the meeting for future contributions. Thanks to my mentor @sumitsingh and all the mentors.

It is with great joy that I share with you all that last week I was able to make my third contribution to the training team. It was a great achievement and I am excited to be able to continue making positive contributions to the team. With hard work and dedication, I am confident that I will make many more important contributions going forward.

I participated on September guided cohort program and learned a lot about contribution. 

@courtneypk and @kafleg helped a lot in my journey. I translated 3 high priority content this month. Planning work as note taker on next available date.

Thanks for the excellent guided program.

After some time spent getting to understand the contributors roles, I began contributing as an editor a couple of weeks ago. While reviewing tutorials, I continue to attend virtual Meetups and consuming published tutorials in Learn.WordPress. I appreciate the support of the community in our cohort and look forward to being a more active contributor in the future.

If you participated in the Guide Program in September, please feel free to share your own success stories in the comments!

Suggestions for Improvement

Overall, input from participants in the Guide Program has been largely positive, but we also heard some suggestions for improvement, which are dependent on the participant’s individual experience. Suggestions that have been shared so far include:

  • Strengthen Guides’ abilities to plan and manage time effectively
  • More synchronous check-ins
  • Hands-on sessions to demonstrate and walk participants through the contribution processes

Next Steps

The Guide Program is significant in expanding the Training Team’s reach and support system for contributors, and it will continue! That said, there are some changes to the program that we intend to integrate.

  • Since the idea for the program-specific Slack channels was integrated after launch, we should make it an official part of the program and include it in the handbook.
  • A “Best Practices” handbook page could help Guides be more effective.
  • A section in the handbook to help Guides facing common challenges (e.g., low engagement, time management, etc.) could be helpful.
  • For Check-in 3, it is currently suggested for “The Guide prepares an update to share at the next Training Team meeting to introduce and acknowledge the new contributor and their area(s) of contribution.” We could modify this to be flexible and make a few recommendations of when and where to do this, instead of just being limited to meetings threads.
  • It would be ideal to have this program run on an ongoing/rolling basis instead of tied to a calendar month. That way, new contributors can get the support they need soon after joining the team. This would make the program more focused on one-on-one mentorship, which can be more reasonable for Guides’ bandwidth, and give new contributors more focused support.

This is just the beginning!

If you participated as a contributor in the Guide Program, please take a moment to complete the feedback form that was shared with you, or comment on this post. The insight that you share is important, as it will help us evaluate our newest program, and guide us in iterating on it to best serve new contributors in the future.

All contributors, whether new and experienced, are encouraged to participate in future Guide Program pairings! If you are interested in participating, please go to the Guide Program handbook page and submit the form that is relevant to you.

Thank you to @piyopiyofox for reviewing this post.

This post was last updated on October 17 to update the “Contributions made by participants” section.


Introducing the Training Team Guide Program!

I am happy to announce the launch of the Training Team’s New Contributor Guide Program! As WordPress and the Training Team are always evolving, it is important to foster a collaborative environment for new contributors to learn and grow alongside seasoned contributors. With this in mind, a program was proposed that matches newcomers to the Training Team with experienced teammates, ensuring their WordPress contribution journey is both fruitful and fulfilling.

Program overview

The Guide Program ensures that new contributors have the resources to make meaningful contributions. It covers essential aspects of contributing to the Training Team, with topics ranging from understanding the team’s coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. values and principles, to picking up tasks, submitting contributions, and engaging in discussions with the community. This all takes place over a series of at least 3 check-ins, and ongoing asynchronous communication between the Guide and Contributor. You can read more details about the program in the new Guide Program handbook page!

How to participate in the Guide Program

New Contributors

Every new contributor brings a unique set of skills and perspectives to the team. The goal of the Guide Program is to harness this diversity and empower folks to make meaningful contributions and shape the future of WordPress learning.

If you are a new contributor to the Training Team and are interested in being paired with a Guide, please fill out the interest form below:

To be considered for the initial cohort, please complete this form by August 31, 2023.

Experienced Contributors

Guides play a pivotal role in this program, bringing their expertise and experience to guide and support New Contributors. They serve as pillars of knowledge by offering insights into the inner workings of the WordPress project, sharing best practices, and facilitating connections with relevant teams and resources. By fostering a mentor-mentee relationship, a collaborative environment where the exchange of ideas and knowledge is at the center. You can review the handbook page for guides for more details.

If you an experienced Training Team contributor* and are interested in becoming a Guide for new contributors, please complete this application form:

*Experienced Training Team contributors have earned a Training Contributor Badge and have been contributing to the team for at least 6 months.

To be considered for the initial cohort, please complete this form by August 31, 2023.

Timeline for program launch

August 2Interest forms and applications open
Aug 3–31Submissions reviewed weekly
Aug 31Applications close for first cohorts
By September 1Guides are assigned to New Contributors
Week of Sept 4First cohorts/check-ins begin
Week of Sept 25First cohorts/check-ins conclude, post-program surveys sent out
October 13Publish recap and next steps

Share your thoughts

Have any questions, suggestions, and/or feedback about the Training Team Guide Program? Please feel free to post a comment below, or share your thoughts in the #training channel in Slack at any time.


Proposal: New Contributor Guide Program


As mentioned in the post “Recap and Next Steps: Training Team Onboarding”, an optional Guide Program (similar to a mentorship or buddy program) for the Training Team could serve to support new contributors to the team. The idea is that experienced Training Team members would serve as Guides for these new team members, regularly checking in with them as they make their first contributions to the team. They would be available as a point of contact for new contributors if they have questions while completing the onboarding program.

This program can be taken at a self-chosen pace, but it is expected that it would take no longer than a month’s time. Read on for a detailed proposal on how this program could work!

Who are the Training Team Guides?

The roster of Guides would consist of experienced Training Team members. It would make sense for Faculty members to participate, but it is not required of them. Guides could be Training Team members that have been contributing consistently to the team for at least 6 months.

For the launch of the program, Guides will be chosen from existing Faculty members (preferably part or full-time sponsored, since they can maintain their commitment and access). After launch, an application and/or nomination process can be established. Faculty members (most likely Administrators) will develop a Guide handbook and provide training and support for new Guides assisted by this handbook.

How do New Contributors learn about the Guide Program?

When a new contributor joins the #Training channel, they could be greeted with an automated message that would include offering them the option to be matched with a Training Team Guide. They would be instructed to fill out an application form to be matched with a Guide.

During the weekly Training Team meetings, the Welcome Committee can also remind the new channel joinees that they can join the Guide Program, and share the application form with them.

There will likely be more pathways for new contributors to learn about the Guide Program, but for the initial launch of this program, we will start with SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at introductions.

How are new Contributors matched to Guides?

Contributors that are interested in participating in the Guide program are asked to provide the following information about themselves to ensure that they are matched with a Guide that can support them appropriately:

  • Timezone in UTC
  • Language(s) they are comfortable conversing in
  • Skills (multiple choice, based on skills utilized on the team)
  • Area(s) of contribution that they are interested in
  • Link to 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. profile (if they have one)

This form would send the contributor’s information to the Training Team’s Help Scout inbox. Faculty Administrators then review the applications and the roster of Guides to find an appropriate match for the new contributor. Guides would be prioritized for the new contributor by time zone and language. Guides should take on no more than 4 new contributors at once.

It is recommended that Guides interact individually with the new contributors that they are paired with. However, Guides can opt to form small cohorts (up to 4 people) if they are able to arrange methods of communication and times that work for everyone if they are to connect synchronously.

How does the program work?

Regular check-ins between a Guide and a new contributor can be brief, as they will also be in constant contact via asynchronous Direct Messages (DMs) on Slack. It is recommended that check-ins are done at least weekly, but the Guide and contributor can plan the schedule that works best for them.

Suggested formats for the check-ins are below.

Before the first check in

  • A Faculty member introduces the Guide and the new contributor to each other via Slack DM or email. If the Guide is a Faculty member, they can introduce themselves.
  • The new contributor and their guide discuss the cadence for their regular check-in meetings and set up a schedule. It is preferred to do these check-ins synchronously, but if schedules do not allow, they can opt to have asynchronous check-ins on Slack.
  • Before their first check-in, the Guide confirms if the contributor has valid and 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. accounts, and shares the Getting Started guide with them.

Check-in 1

  • The Guide gives the new contributor a general overview of the Training Team and a brief description of the areas of contribution.
  • The new contributor asked if they have reviewed the Getting Started Guide, if they have completed the steps, and if they have any questions.
    • Bonus: if the contributor has decided which area(s) of contribution they want to contribute to, they complete the onboarding process for that area.
  • The new contributor is also guided to attend the next Training Team meeting (Coffee Hour optional).
  • The guide will be available to the new contributor via Slack DM if any questions arise before their next check-in (this is an expectation between all subsequent check-ins).

Check-in 2

  • The new contributor and their Guide check in to discuss the self-guided onboarding process, and they discuss any questions or concerns that arose during the process.
  • If the contributor did not decide upon an area of contribution after the first check-in, the Guide discusses the roles with the contributor to help guide them in finding how they can best apply their strengths and skills to the team.
  • The Guide gives an overview of the types of tasks that their chosen area of contribution has. The Guide can show the contributor examples of the contributions so they can see real examples of what they look like. This may be best done over a screenshare on a synchronous call.
  • The new contributor and Guide go over “Quick contributions you can make now” together.
    • The contributor expresses a quick contribution that they are interested in learning how to do.
    • The Guide walks the contributor through the process of their chosen contribution. This gives the contributor the opportunity to ask questions as they work on their first contribution along with their Guide.
    • The contributor agrees to make additional contributions before their next check-in.

Check-in 3

  • The new contributor and their Guide check in to see how their first contributions went, and if they have any learnings, concerns, and/or questions to share.
  • The Guide prepares an update to share at the next Training Team meeting to introduce and acknowledge the new contributor and their area(s) of contribution.


Guides will be expected to share a brief update on their activity with their new contributors and celebrate their contributions during Training Team meetings. This can be done asynchronously if the Training Team meeting is at an inconvenient time for the Guide.


When the initial check-ins have been completed, the Guide and Contributor can choose to continue regular check-ins, and/or remain connected on the Making WordPress Slack.

It’s recommended to check in again after 3 months to evaluate how their continued contributions are going, and if they are interested in expanding their contributions (i.e., trying a new task or a different area of contribution). It also would be helpful to create a survey for new contributors 3–6 months after completion of the Guide Program to see how they are doing.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s hear what you think about this proposal in the comments! 

  • What do you think about the proposed Guide Program?
  • Do you have any suggestions for the program?
  • For experienced Training Team members: Are you interested in participating as a Guide?

Please share your thoughts by 5 July, 2023.

Thank you to @harishanker, @bsanevans, and @west7 for contributing to and reviewing this post.

#guide-program, #mentorship, #proposal

Recap and Next Steps: Training Team Onboarding


The Training Team’s new onboarding program has been completed by 25 people, of which more than half have continued on with regular contributions to the team. This post considers how the program can be improved further, and proposes a new optional Guide Program for those who would benefit from mentorship by an experienced contributor during onboarding.

What is the Onboarding Program?

Last year, the Training Team identified a need to improve the onboarding process for new contributors in the team. In response to that need, the team created a new 30-60 minute self-serve onboarding program that introduces contributors to the team’s mission, walks them through making accounts necessary to contribute, guides them through their first contribution, and connects them with continued contribution possibilities. This new Onboarding Program was launched on February 10th, 2023 – just in time for 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. 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. Asia 2023.

What feedback has the Onboarding program received?

In the three and a half months since it launched, 25 people have completed the Onboarding Program. (This data is collected from a survey folks fill out at the end of the material.) Of these:

  • 14 people have contributed to the team beyond onboarding such as by contributing to meetings, reviewing/translating content, and becoming co-hosts in Online Workshops.
  • 8 people completed the program during Contributor Day at WordCamp Asia (February 17th.)
  • 3 people submitted feedback about the program through a feedback form. All feedback was positive.
  • 1 person joined the Faculty Program.

What other observations have we made?

While the Onboarding program has been successful, it can also feel like there is a human element missing while a new contributor is getting started. Also, the self-serve onboarding program is great for self-driven contributors, but may not meet the needs of every learning style. What can we do to help make an even more welcoming experience for all new contributors?

Proposal: The Guide Program

An optional Guide Program (similar to a mentorship) for the Training Team could serve to support new contributors to the team. The idea is that experienced Training Team members would serve as Guides for these new team members, regularly checking in with them as they make their first contributions to the team. They would be available as a point of contact for new contributors if they have questions while completing the onboarding program.

@courtneypk is working on building out a more detailed proposal on this program for the team to review, and is interested in any thoughts that people have about the idea.

What are your thoughts?

Please leave your thoughts about the following points in the comments below:

  • Do you have any other observations or feedback about the Onboarding Program?
  • What are your thoughts about the proposed Guide Program?
  • Any other ideas that would improve the onboarding experience for new contributors to the Training Team?

Please leave your thoughts by June 18. Thanks!

This post was co-authored by @bsanevans and @courtneypk.

#guide-program, #onboarding