Experience in detail.
Warehouse powers the next-generation replacement for the Python Package Index -- basic Python community infrastructure. Thanks to funding by Mozilla's Open Source Support program and via the Python Software Foundation, PyPI got a long-awaited overhaul, which culminated on-schedule in April 2018. Sumana Harihareswara was the lead project manager on that effort. Harihareswara, with contractor Laura Hampton assisting, ran meetings (IRC and phone meetings and in-person sprints), triaged bugs, tested and improved Warehouse and other packaging and distribution tools, wrote and improved documentation, and did outreach to the developer community. This work earned Harihareswara a 2018 Google Open Source Peer Bonus.
Now, Changeset provides project management for the grant-funded effort to improve PyPI's security, accessibility, and localization. Harihareswara is assisted by researcher Jenny Ryan.
Harihareswara occasionally provides advice to Tidelift on connecting with and serving open source software maintainers, especially Pythonists.
The Packaging Working Group of the Python Software Foundation engaged Changeset to coordinate and improve communication among and for the Python Packaging Authority, a group of maintainers of key Python packaging and distribution tools. Harihareswara worked with Dr. Zack Weinberg to provide support services. Changeset reached out to stakeholders, responded to and organized GitHub issues and discussion threads (such as following up on commitments and plans contributors made at a PyCon mini-summit), helped maintainers and contributors (such as pip maintainer Pradyun Gedam) update the group about their progress and needs, led in-person work sprints, facilitated the PEP process for choosing a new manylinux standard, researched fundable projects and grants or company funding that could support future PyPA work, and improved documentation.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation hired Changeset to help improve HTTPS Everywhere's project workflow for developers & maintainers and thus increase the project's sustainability and ability to onboard new maintainers (mailing list announcement). Harihareswara worked with Kate Chapman via Cascadia Technical Mentorship to interview maintainers and contributors, improve communication about project priorities, analyze the existing pull request and issue backlog, develop and implement better labeling and workflow for pull requests and issues, unify contact email addresses, and write specifications for improving other automated systems to reduce tedious work.
Via the consulting firm Open Tech Strategies, and as part of Solution Guidance Corporation, Harihareswara improved infrastructure and documentation for the Provider Screening Module, a Java web application to help US states administer Medicaid. She developed bash scripts to build and push Javadocs and Sphinx-generated documentation to GitHub Pages, use Gradle, WildFly, and PostgreSQL to refresh a developer environment, and bundle documentation into a stakeholder-friendly ZIP file. She researched compliance with accessibility guidelines, business rules engines such as Drools, potential pain points for users, and user-facing documentation tools. Harihareswara also wrote PSM documentation for users, developers, and implementers.
For other OTS projects, Harihareswara also taught new OTS contractors how to use IRC, Subversion, git-svn, and other open source workflow tools, conducted an installation audit for StreetCRM, and researched, edited, and wrote reports.
Following a sprint with OpenNews in December 2016 to help write a guide to newsrooms who want to open source their code, Harihareswara worked with contractor Frances Hocutt to create a language-agnostic, general-purpose linter tool to accompany that guide. "The Open Project Linter is an automated checklist that new (or experienced but forgetful) open source maintainers can use to make sure that they're using good practices in their documentation, code, and project resources."
In early 2016, Zulip's documentation was split among multiple README files and sub-sites, and Zulip had a small open source community. Harihareswara reorganized the documentation, wrote an architecture overview, and started a glossary. She also started and ran Zulip's regular "office hour" livechats, recruited participants via social media, Outreachy, and PyCon, and wrote and triaged bug reports. Harihareswara helped plan and run Zulip's PyCon 2017 sprint and co-staffed PyCon and OSCON booths, running English tutoring sessions as part of Google Summer of Code application assistance, and mentored an Outreachy intern. Zulip now boasts over 300 contributors merging over 500 commits a month, and GitHub recommends it on its curated "Great for new contributors" list.
Wikimedia Indonesia, a non-profit organization dedicated to free knowledge and free culture, worked on a Making All Voices Count project to make it easier for local Indonesians to add local data to OpenStreetMap. WMID improved the open source Pywikibot tool with bugfixes, tests, new features, code review, project management, an easier UI, and better packaging, and wrote accompanying training manuals. Harihareswara wrote a report assessing and explaining WMID's work and suggesting followup tasks (now incorporated into Wikimedia Indonesia's report to its funders).
Harihareswara ran a 2015 PyCon sprint that expedited the GNU Mailman 3.0 release; she prioritized tasks, advised UI decisions, tested the installer and recruited additional testers, and wrote documentation. She also triaged and closed bugs in the multiple applications comprising the GNU Mailman suite, ported docs from an old wiki, rewrote developer docs, replaced hardcoded English messages with localization template calls, and wrote an LWN article publicizing the new release.
As Senior Technical Writer, Harihareswara wrote MediaWiki's performance and architecture guidelines, revamped and ran its Requests for Comment process, and mentored an Outreachy intern focusing on auditing and improving API client libraries. As Volunteer Development Coordinator and Engineering Community Manager, she wrote and triaged bug reports, broke bottlenecks in patch review, served as MediaWiki's organizational administrator for Google Summer of Code, introduced the first anti-harassment policy for Wikimedia's in-person technical events, trained volunteers in Git, MediaWiki, APIs, and related technologies, and ran hackathons. During her time as Engineering Community Manager, she hired and managed members of the Engineering Community Team, initiated Wikimedia's participation in Outreachy, trained volunteers in Git, MediaWiki, APIs, and related technologies. The new contributors and maintainers she recruited, mentored, and shepherded from 2011 to 2014 have made the MediaWiki community more sustainable and more diverse.
Harihareswara assessed the state of the codebase and the project's friendliness to new developers as of late 2013, producing a list of issues to fix.
The volunteers who develop a web application to manage the scifi convention WisCon had a jumble of bug reports and feature requests in BaseCamp, Google Code, old emails and text notes. Over a few months in 2011, Harihareswara consolidated and organized those TODOs into a prioritized queue, and kept the team on one page via BaseCamp updates and a weekly conference call.
GNOME needed publicity and a clear message when launching GNOME 3.0, the first major version release in nine years. Harihareswara, with a colleague, managed marketing for the release: she wrote and sent press releases, recruited volunteers to create, localize and publicize marketing materials, gave interviews and press materials to reporters, and commissioned and edited special journal articles. She handed off the project by developing lessons learned for future GNOME marketers. Additionally, as editor and release organizer of GNOME Journal, Harihareswara wrote articles about the GNOME Desktop Environment, recruited and edited other work, and helped plan the direction of the magazine.
During a controversy about the New York Linux Users Group's organizational future, Harihareswara accepted the responsibility of choosing the documentation platform members would use to write their charter. After comprehensively gathering members' requirements and discarding unsuitable options, Harihareswara finalized the decision and successfully handed off platform administration to another volunteer.
AltLaw was an open source case law platform developed at Columbia Law School that (before Google Scholar entered the market) sought to democratize access to legal precedent. Harihareswara conceived, and headed development of, a new product to better publicize the site's services and better serve its audience: a free online casebook for law students, replacing expensive paper casebooks sold by textbook companies. Towards this goal, she advised AltLaw's lead developer in prioritizing and designing new features, and coordinated volunteer domain experts.