KDE Sprint Policy
KDE is a world-wide distributed volunteer-based community. To stimulate productive high-bandwidth collaboration and community building we hold KDE sprints, focused meetings of small groups of contributors. The goal of these sprints is to use face-to-face time to get work done in the most efficient way, and catalyze longer-term development efforts.
KDE sprints form an essential part of the culture of KDE. They are an integral part of the development process, and foster communication, collaboration, coordination, and forward planning. In recognition of its importance they are one of the primary activities of KDE e.V. to support the community.
1. Sprint Format
Sprints are typically two or three day events, often over a long weekend, with around ten participants. Something like fifteen participants is an upper boundary, sprints with less participants are usually the more productive ones.
Usually sprints are dedicated events and not part of larger events to provide focus and the opportunity to spend all energy on the sprint work. The goal is to provide an environment which allows people to be most productive, achieve flow, and create results.
Topics to be covered at sprints are coming from the parts of the community, which need face-to-face time to accelerate development. Sprints are supposed to increase existing momentum, to strengthen strong teams, and to support initiatives coming from the community. They are a tool to make good work great.
To support introduction and integration of new contributors into the community sprints are required to include new contributors. At least ten percent of the participants should be people who joined the community recently, have never been at a sprint before, or have just started to work with the group doing the sprint. This is sometimes referred to as "newbie quota".
Sprint organization is driven by a person acting as the organizer. This person is the main point of contact and responsible for coordination of the participants, finding a date and a location for the sprint, requesting financial support from KDE e.V., and making sure that progress and results of the sprint are reported to KDE e.V., the community, and the public.
KDE e.V., and specifically the board and the KDE e.V. business manager, support the organizer in all this activities by providing help, giving feedback and guidance, facilitating communication, or whatever else is needed to successfully run the sprint.
As a central tool for helping with sprint organization sprints.kde.org is used to collect information about participants, goals and logistics. Additionally the community wiki is used for more detailed information, especially about the content of the sprint. The sprint group may make use of other tools as they see fit.
As location for the sprint we usually use meeting rooms provided by companies supporting the sprint. Other arrangments are possible. KDE e.V. can help with finding a suitable location.
For accommodation we usually do a group reservation in an affordable hotel or hostel. KDE e.V. can help with this.
Travel is organized by participants on their own. If necessary KDE e.V. can help here as well, e.g. with booking of flights for people who can't afford to advance the money.
Creativity in organizing sprints is welcome. The goal always should be to create a productive atmosphere, which allows participants to spend their time in the best way to be productive and create valuable results.
3. Financial support
KDE e.V. supports sprints financially through the money it gets from supporting members and donors. The money is used responsibly in the interest of the KDE community and its goals to create great free software for a wide range of users.
The sprint organizer is responsible for requesting financial support from KDE e.V. for the overall sprint including travel and accommodation of all participants which need financial support.
Participants are encouraged to seek financial support from other parties, e.g. from their employers, before requesting support from KDE e.V.
Organizers are encouraged to choose locations which keep travel and accommodation costs down. Local sprints are preferred, though we try to bring all people together who are needed to get most out of a sprint, even if that involves long-distance travel.
Our base line estimation is an average reimbursement of 250 EUR per participant and sprint.
Participants advance the costs and are reimbursed by KDE e.V. on sending in their receipts. Exceptions are possible on request if there is a good reason.
3.1 Supported expenses
KDE e.V. supports 100% of travel and accommodation costs of sprint participants at reasonable rates. This recognizes that participants usually invest a significant amount of their free and volunteer time into the sprint, and they shouldn't have a financial burden on top of that.
In recognition of our overall responsibilty for preserving earth as a sustainable and healthy environment the preferred means of transportation is train. We support flights where there is no reasonable alternative. We don't support travel by car.
Accommodation is supported provided it's at a reasonable cost. In the interest of enabling people to spend their full energy on their work at the sprint and still providing them an opportunity to rest, we support single hotel rooms. But we appreciate people sharing rooms in order to save costs.
Food is not supported, as this is an expense people would also have without attending a sprint, and it creates quite some overhead to reimburse this type of costs.
Meeting room costs are usually not supported, as it's relatively easy to find suitable rooms provided by supporting organizations or individuals for free. KDE e.V. can help with finding rooms, if necessary.
Exceptions to these guidelines are possible and can be granted by the board of KDE e.V., if it's in the best interest of the sprint and in accordance to the general sprint guidelines and goals.
3.2 Procedure for financial support requests
Organizers prepare a request for support including the following information:
- Goal of the sprint
- Number and names of participants, including indication of new community members
- Location of the sprint
- Estimated costs which are requested to be reimbursed
- Any additional supporting information to help with deciding about the request
Requests are send to the board of KDE e.V. via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The board acknowledges reception of the request and clarifies open question if needed.
Requests should be sent no later than four weeks before the sprint is taking place.
To encourage to plan well in advance and to be able to distribute a limited budget in a fair way, sprints are regularly approved four times a year at the beginning of each quarter. Deadline for sending requests are January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.
The board approves requests for sprints according to the available budget for each quarter. Unused budget is available for more short-notice requests sent in during the quarter. Remaining budget is transferred to the next quarter. If there is not enough budget to accommodate all requested sprints it's up to the board's discretion to choose the sprints which promise to be most valuable.
If any costs change the organizer of the sprint notifies the board and a decision is made in coordination of the organizer and the board how to deal with the change. The board might refuse an increase of costs if budget or other considerations suggest that.
The board might grant exceptions to the procedure, if there are good reasons for doing so.
The board might delegate the approval of sprints to a dedicated group of community members appointed by the board.
3.3 Requesting reimbursements
Participants send in requests for reimbursement of approved costs to the office of KDE e.V. no later than three months after the sprint.
The request has to contain the printed and signed expense report from the KDE e.V. web site as well as the original receipts of all expensed costs. If there is no original, e.g. as in flight confirmations only available as email, a printed version of the electronic receipt is acceptable.
Reporting about the activities and results of a sprint is essential. It's needed to inform the community, to provide donors and supporters with information what happened to their money, and to motivate people to support future sprints.
The participants of a sprint are required to provide the following reports:
- A landing page on community.kde.org with an overview of the sprint and its results, and links to additional material, e.g. blogs, dot stories, additional content on the Wiki, press coverage, code written at the sprint, photos from the sprint, etc., and organizational background such as the link to the page at sprints.kde.org.
- A story on dot.kde.org with a public report about the sprint.
- A summary of the sprint for the quarterly reports of KDE e.V.
Additional reports, e.g. an internal report for the members of KDE e.V. or the board or anything else which is recognized as useful is appreciated as well.
This policy is maintained by the board of the KDE e.V.