First, let's dispel the common myth that only geeks can contribute to CiviCRM. That's just not true! Whatever your skill set, there are many ways that you can get involved and support CiviCRM.
That said, we realize that contributing to a project for the first time can feel daunting. Rest assured, we've all been there! No matter if you're a first time contributor or a veteran contributor to open source, we encourage you to dive right in!
CiviCRM is, at heart, a do-ocracy. You'll hear us say it and celebrate it often! In essence, that means that those that 'do', are able to get stuff 'done' in CiviCRM. But, since we all do things in different ways, organizing a do-ocracy like CiviCRM can be very challenging. We've spent time reviewing other successful models (many thanks Drupal, Joomla! and Ubuntu) and attempt to organize the CiviCRM do-ocracy using Groups and Projects.
As an open source project, CiviCRM is organized into various Groups that address distinct processes, operations or functions. Groups vary in size, scope and significance, and correspond to “Groups” in Gitlab, CiviCRM’s primary project management tool. They are ongoing in nature and form an umbrella over related projects. Groups are responsible for establishing and overseeing Projects. Example groups include:
Projects are smaller initiatives that exist within groups, that are narrower in scope, often have beginning and end times, and typically involve fewer community members. Most initiatives in CiviCRM are projects… smaller, one time efforts that achieve a specific result under the context of a larger ongoing effort. They are normally managed by one or two individuals who, generally speaking, not only do the work, but engage with the community to ensure that their efforts meet standards and have the broadest impact.
Most projects adhere to group practices to the extent possible. For example, new developments should follow CiviCRM’s development standards, and new events should adhere to the guidelines set by the events group. Project leaders should coordinate with group leaders as needed. Example projects include:
By now, you know what we're all about, how we operate, and what opportunities exist to improve CiviCRM. And, it's likely that you have your own thoughts on just how to do so. Now it's time to take the plunge!
CiviCRM utilizes several platforms to facilitate engagement including community chat, gitlab, email, phone and events. In our view, the best place to start is community chat (we use Mattermost and you'll hear it referred to it as such).