Write It Down: Process Documentation from the Ground Up

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 25, 2015 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B302/303


The collective knowledge base of an organization can be difficult to crack. Some things have "always been done that way" but no one knows why. This talk will help to expose those undocumented corners of your project, and give you tools for writing process documentation for new contributors using lessons from Not-For-Profit organizations.


In my spare time, I volunteer with a non-profit historical recreation group called the Society for Creative Anachronism. As a long-time member of this group, I am occasionally called on to lead events, coordinate activities, and herd a variety of cats. I have discovered a number of gaps in the group processes for things that “everyone knows,” and have been working to write up guides so that other people don’t experience the same levels of frustration. These same documentation principles apply to open source organizations as well, as both types of groups tend to be volunteer-heavy, and can be prone to skipping the basics. In this talk, I will discuss ways to evaluate your existing process documentation, guidelines for creating new documentation, and related methods of communicating with volunteers.

Speaking experience

I've spoken at OSB for the past two years, and at YAPC::NA in 2013. I have a lot of public speaking experience via the SCA, and in college. You can view my previous talk slides here: