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Essentially, leading a project is a full-time occupation. If you want to see a project succeed, someone will have to fill the role of project leader, and that someone should spend most of their time working on the people problems, not the project itself. After all, it takes only a little amount of time to support and integrate another developer. If you split your time into supporting other developers, then you can have many developers work on the team. If on the other hand you spend most of your time focused on development yourself, the project has a hard time growing past you.

If you are one of those developers who prefers to be doing the work rather than the managing, step aside and let someone else handle the people problems. In contemporary times, it's understood the manager's job is to facilitate not control, and you can't control an OpenSource project anyway. Let everyone concentrate on what they do best. It's not about power and it's not about ego.

For those interested in their own reputations, it will serve your reputation better in the long term to build a larger team than it will to do all the work yourself. After all, you have to give away power to get power.

Another way of thinking about this is the liberalization of the project; that is, each contributor is left to their own devices to contribute as they choose and are motivated. The role of the project coordinator is to provide the best structure to let everyone's creativity merge and jam towards something better. This is not an easy task, so it definitely requires focused attention.

See the contrasting LeaderAction.

Also called CommunityOverContent.

Sunir's [Rules of Open Source]: "The task for the leader of a team project is to work on the team, not the project."

In response to Rule 4. If you don't work on your project, chances are that no one will. My corollaries to that are

4a. When others work on your project, let them take all the credit.

4b. Don't overshadow others by working harder than they do.

-- SunirShah


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