Essays, guides and other resources to help you manage your project.


block of wood embedded in crosswalk asphalt, original photo by Sumana Harihareswara 2017, CC-BY

How to Teach And Include Volunteers who Write Poor Patches


Helping less-skilled programmers improve their code, dealing with the poor-quality pull requests themselves, and redirecting their energies to improve your project in other ways: tips and examples.

Continue reading
laboratory desk at Case Western Reserve University, original photo by Sumana Harihareswara 2017, CC-BY

The scientific method and usable history


New contributors to open source project should learn how to learn from and contribute to our shared "lab notebooks", troubleshoot with the scientific method, and develop hypotheses.

Continue reading
Butcher paper reading 'Before you begin: Starting a New Open Source Project' and adorned with sticky notes with suggestions, original photo by Sumana Harihareswara 2016 at an OpenNews documentation sprint, CC-BY

Advice on Starting and Running a New Open Source Project


Tips and resources for creator-maintainers, moving from general management to tech management to open source management.

Continue reading
Wikimedia Hackathon 2013, Amsterdam - Flickr - Sebastiaan ter Burg (22)

Software In Person


How to get the best results from hackathons, sprint weeks, and all-hands meetings (see her previous hackathon prep tips).

Continue reading
Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam in 2013, by User:Multichill (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

How To Improve Bus Factor In Your Open Source Project


Follow these tips to get new contributors, and turn them into new maintainers.

Continue reading
pen on gridded paper, CC BY from

Advice for careers in open source


Whether you're an Outreachy/Google Summer of Code intern or a mentor to an intern, these suggestions help you get the most career benefit out of the experience.

Continue reading
photo of a hackathon, by Victorgrigas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Inessential Weirdnesses in Open Source

Check for these barriers that often slow down new users and contributors during outreach efforts.

Continue reading
Sumana teaching a workshop participant at the Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam, 2013, by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Here Are Some Grants You Could Apply For


Harihareswara lists some sources of money to fund free culture and open source software projects.

Continue reading
discussion at a conference table, CC BY from

Good And Bad Signs For Community Change, And Some Leadership Styles


Consider these factors to predict whether you can improve an open source/free culture community.

Continue reading
women with a laptop, CC BY from

How Knowledge Workers Can Learn More About Open Source Tools They Use


Harihareswara recommends approaches and types of hosting for those digging into FLOSS applications.

Continue reading

Case Studies

A sign reading 'ALL ARE WELCOME WE STAND TOGETHER' on a gate to Socrates Sculpture Park, original photo by Sumana Harihareswara 2016, CC-BY

Inclusive-Or: Hospitality in Bug Tracking


How do Dreamwidth, Zulip, MediaWiki, FogBugz, and Debian make it easier for less experienced users to submit bug reports?

Continue reading
pen on gridded paper, CC BY from

Sample installation audit


How easy is the developer setup process for your project? Here's a sample audit report.

Continue reading
Wikimania hackathon in Israel, 2011, CC BY-SA by Wikimedia Israel,

How I Made a Tidepool


Read lessons learned when Harihareswara implemented the Friendly Space Policy for Wikimedia Foundation technical events.

Continue reading
OPW mentors and interns at Wiki Conference USA 2014, by Geraldshields11 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons,

Case Study of a Good Internship


Read lessons learned when Harihareswara successfully mentored an Outreachy intern (who continues to contribute to the project).

Continue reading
image of poster

Be A Better Mentor: What Hacker School Taught Me About Community Mentoring


Harihareswara presented this poster, summarizing lessons learned at the Recurse Center, at PyCon 2014.

Continue reading
pen and lined paper, CC BY from

Launchpad dev process


This open source team successfully trained all its developers to also review each other's code.

Continue reading


old Outreach Program for Women logo

The Triumph of Outreachy


Harihareswara traces the FOSS internship program's growth over its nine-year history.

Continue reading
contract on a table, CC BY-SA

Codes of conduct and the trade-offs of copyleft


When we compare community anti-harassment policies to licenses like the GPL, we learn unexpected lessons about our attitudes towards governance.

Continue reading
photo of a hackathon, by Ringo Chan (Wikimedia Foundation) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons, from

User Experience is a Social Justice Issue


Good interaction design helps us execute on our values; here's the why, the how, and the next steps.

Continue reading


screenshot of sample code

A Few Python Tips


Even if you've been using Python for years, you may not know about alternative command-line interpreters like bpython, some helpful debugging options, and how to use the codecs module.

Continue reading
Sumana teaching a Git workshop at Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam, 2013, by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013, Amsterdam) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons,

A Few Intermediate Git Tips


Shallow cloning, blaming, nicer diffs, and more features help you use Git more efficiently.

Continue reading
screenshot of sample code

Using Beautiful Soup, Pystache, and Lunr.js for an Archival Site


Harihareswara describes using a screenscraper to grab text and adding a client-side search engine to three years' worth of newspaper columns.

Continue reading

Talks and Interviews

Sumana Harihareswara and Jason Owen onstage presenting 'Code Review, Forwards and Back' at PyGotham 2017

Code Review, Forwards and Back


For PyGotham 2017, Harihareswara and Jason Owen co-wrote and co-starred in a play about code review, company culture, and collaboration styles.

Watch video
compare and contrast between GET and HEAD methods

HTTP Can Do That?!


At Open Source Bridge 2015 (slides), Harihareswara demonstrated some useful (and useless) underappreciated features of HTTP.

Watch video
Harihareswara delivering OSBridge keynote

Be Bold: An Origin Story


Harihareswara delivered this keynote address to the Open Source Bridge conference in 2012.

Watch video
Harihareswara addressing Wiki Conference USA

Hospitality, Jerks, and What I Learned


This keynote address to Wiki Conference USA 2014 (transcript, audio) discussed features of good learning environments.

Watch video
Harihareswara delivering talk at OSBridge

A Few Python Tips


At Open Source Bridge 2014 (materials), Harihareswara demonstrated useful features in the Python ecology.

Watch video
Harihareswara delivering code4lib keynote

User Experience is a Social Justice Issue


As opening keynote speaker at code4lib 2014 (transcript), Harihareswara discussed how we implement our values through usable software.

Watch video
Wikimedia open technology chat

How to Fix a Wikimedia Bug


Get a newbie-friendly walkthrough of how developers fix bugs, including searching for the right file, making the git commit, getting it reviewed and merged, and closing a Bugzilla ticket.

Watch video
Sumana speaking with microphone, by eekim [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons,

More conference talks by Sumana Harihareswara

Read and watch more presentations on and interviews about technical and management topics (HTTP, Python, MediaWiki, organizations, outreach events, project management, etc.) Most recent: "HTTP Can Do That?!", 2015-06-24.

Continue reading