Joining a sprint
Joining a sprint is the easiest way to help out with BobaBoard's development. We're currently planning to onboard 3-4 new developers with each subsequent sprint.
What is a sprint
A sprint is a 6-weeks period where BobaBoard volunteers work together on tasks centering around a theme.
Previous themes include "launching Realms" and "fixing user annoyances". You can see past, present and future sprints in the sprints and projects section of our roadmap.
What does a sprint look like
Before a sprint
- Volunteers look at upcoming priorities and decide the theme of the next sprint.
- Ms Boba creates a Discord channel dedicated to the upcoming sprint.
- Volunteers brainstorm issues related to the sprint, and come up with potential focus areas.
- Volunteers set up a meeting to file issues in our GitHub repositories, and set up a sprint dashboard.
- Each volunteer calls "dibs" on 2-3 issues (or less, according to comfort) to tackle during the sprint.
Volunteers that are not planning to participate in the upcoming sprint are still welcome to join these brainstorming sessions!
During a sprint
- Volunteers work on the assigned tasks, and (optionally) provide updates as they go on the sprint's Discord channel.
- Ms Boba (and willing volunteers) help sprinters when they get stuck or have questions, and review code before it's checked into the codebase.
- As volunteers finish tasks, they update assigned issues and choose new ones to tackle. Volunteers might also drop tasks and choose new ones if the current ones aren't "sparking joy" anymore.
- Once a week, Ms Boba tags all current sprinters for a status check in. This is the only "mandatory" part of participating in a sprint, but
there is no expectation for volunteers to have made progress. Status check ins entail:
- Giving an update on currently assigned tasks.
- Dropping tasks the volunteer doesn't wish to tackle anymore and/or picking up new ones.
- Discussing the progress the volunteer wants to make in the following week (if any).
- As new features are implemented, Ms Boba might release new updates to the BobaBoard software.
After a sprint
- It's time to celebrate our accomplishments and thank each other for a succesful sprint!
- Ms Boba does a final release with everyone's changes.
- We hold a collective, "blameless" retrospective, discussing what we can improve in our sprints processes or developer experience.
How to join a sprint
What if I...
...am not confident about which issue to choose?
It's expected that new volunteers (and sometimes returning ones) might feel lost when choosing a task. When needed, Ms Boba will work with each volunteer to understand their current skills, goals, and availability, and help guide them towards the right match. She will also help break down larger tasks in manageable pieces, according to the needs of the volunteer.
...have trouble with or feel overwhelmed by a task?
As tasks are assigned, Ms Boba works with each volunteer to break the task down into manageable pieces, and to provide context and code pointers that will set the volunteer up for success. Despite this, sometimes the task might still end up confusing, or be a bad match for the volunteer.
When this happens, the volunteer should let Ms Boba (and/or other volunteers) know they're struggling. Examples of support include:
Chat-based support: Ms Boba and other volunteers are always available in Discord to help volunteers when they get stuck. They might offer help brainstorming solutions, offer more code pointers, and generally do their best to help others get unstuck.
Help breaking down the task further: getting unstuck is sometimes as simple as breaking a task further down (and maybe get help with some of the pieces). If a task is feeling too daunting, Ms Boba is always available to help figuring out the next step.
Pair programming sessions: if the volunteer is comfortable with the prospect, Ms Boba might offer to schedule a "pair programming" session, where she will work together with the volunteer on the task. During these sessions, Ms Boba will help debug issues, clarify complicated or ill-written code, and gently guide the volunteer towards completing the task.
While these sessions might sound scary to people who have not pair programmed before, they're an extremely helpful learning (and teaching!) tool. If you're on the fence about participating, Ms Boba can put you in touch with people who can relay their previous experience.
Changing the task: volunteers can drop tasks for any reason, but it's especially encouraged if the task is causing a volunteer anxiety or just not giving them a good time. Remember: we want you to come out of the volunteering experience enriched, not scarred!
A bad task match is never the volunteer's fault! There are many reasons a match might fail, including Ms Boba underestimating the difficulty of a task (a skill she's been working on). There is no shame or judgement in asking for help, or dropping a task.
If we can provide any further help or accomodations, let us know! We're here to see you succeed.
...don't accomplish anything during a week (or the whole sprint)?
This happens! It's totally fine (we swear)!
While we hold a "mandatory" weekly check in, we have no expectations that people will do consistent progress each week.
If a volunteers become unable to continue, or wishes to drop out of a sprint midway-through for any reason, we simply ask that the volunteer lets us know as soon as they reach a decision (or as they're pondering it, in case we can help).
Volunteers are welcome to join following sprints even if they dropped out of previous ones.
...miss a "mandatory" check in?
This also happens, and there's no "punishment" for missing check ins. Ms Boba will simply tag you again with a reminder, and reach out privately if she can't get ahold of you that way after some time.
...need help outside of the weekly check in?
As mentioned in the "have trouble with or feel overwhelmed by a task" session, we offer volunteers continuous help in our Discord server. Our priority is for volunteers to have a good time, so if you need any type of accomodation, let us know!
...feel uncomfortable asking "basic" questions in public?
You can always reach out to Ms Boba privately, although we encourage people to interact publicly with other volunteers. As we hope you'll get to see during your participation, we're a 100% judgement-free environment.
Last year, we've also assigned mentors to volunteers who requested one. Mentors act as a bridge between Ms Boba and the volunteer, help them with questions they might be scared are "too silly", offer insights on parts of the process they might be struggling with, and gently nudge them towards the right avenues when they feel stuck. Ms Boba periodically chats with mentors to get their insights or what is working (or not) in the volunteering process.
...don't want to join following sprints?
That's ok! When new sprints happen, we might tag previous sprint roles to allow people to sign up, but joining a sprint is in no way a commitment to join future sprints. As a former volunteer, you'll always be welcome to join any new ones, even if you take breaks in the middle.
Most importantly, there is no need to justify the choice to not join further sprint. Just show up again when you're feeling up for it, or keep hanging out with us (and maybe join planning sessions) without committing to a sprint!
...did not have a good time during the sprint?
Sorry to hear that! You can always reach out to Ms Boba with any issue, or voice your concerns privately to other volunteers (who, only with your permission, might reach out to her on your behalf).
You can also find our form for anonymous volunteer feedback in our Discord server.