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Roles and People

The people of sprints

Let's consider the types of folks involved in the sprints and their essential responsibilities:

Role Responsibilities
Code of Conduct enforcement team/moderators Trained folks ready to deal with Code of conduct violations and keeping an eye on the communication channels. If you are looking for Code of Conduct training for your team we highly recommend you check Otter's consulting training sessions.
Contributors/mentees Contribute to the projects involved in the sprints.
General mentors - Welcome, orient and help contributors

We usually ensure we have a mix of:
- Newcomers' mentors: general questions, help with the tools used for the sprint
- Git helpdesk
Mentors (project) / Project leads - Onboard new members to a specific project
- Help with project-specific questions and pull request reviews
- Ensure there are a diverse set of tasks to work on the day (i.e. beginner-friendly, code and non-code issues, translations)
- Celebrate wins of their mentees and report on progress
- Points of contact for their initiative or project
Organising teams / Sprint leads - The main point of contact for the event
- Delegates tasks and ensures these are on track
- Liaise with conference or summit organisers (if embedded in a larger event)
- Ensure there is a coc enforment person at all times
- Send out comms
- Organise tech checks

Since this chapter is focused on the organisation of the teams, we will dive into the main organisers' responsibilities.

Organising team - Sprints leads

The first step is to identify how many hands you're going to need to be able to run the event. In terms of organisers make sure to:

  • Include folks with experience running sprints or community events. (Not everyone has to have prior experience but make sure to at least have a mixture of experienced and new organisers.)
  • Have a diverse set of organisers or advisers.
  • If you are running an event online make sure to have organisers at the timezones/regions you are targeting. They will be the best allies to get the word out to the local communities and perhaps you do not want to run a 24hrs sprint on your own.
  • Keep track of the meetings, record meetings if possible (especially when working across timezones, trust me it is tough to set meeting times when you have folks in JST, BST, CST and PDT timezones).


Be clear with your volunteer and organising teams about the roles and their responsibilities. Be mindful and explicit about time expectations, especially if you are all volunteers.


Take time early on to define the roles you need and set expectations. In your communications, be clear about who is handling what, and how folks can be contacted. Ensure you have mechanisms for asynchronous communication.

Mentors to contributors ratios

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider before the event is the number of mentors you will need on the day.


After running a good number of sprints, we have noticed that the sweet spot lies at capping the ratio mentors:contributors to 1:10.

Realistically, this is the maximum mentor a single person can mentor effectively at the same time. Make sure to check with your mentors how many folks they are comfortable mentoring at a given time, though.

Having general mentors and a Git helpdesk massively helps to ease the burden on everyone. Make sure to have about 3-4 folks depending on the size of your attendees' pool.

Last update: May 10, 2021
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