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Servas-BeWelcome update

written by sitarane - 2010/09/30 10:51

Monday there was a meeting between the Servas-to-BeWelcome project members. It involved two members of the BW board of directors (including me), one BW coder and three Servas coordinators (including the president of Servas International).

The topic was the general roadmap for the project. A draft had been submitted a few days earlier by one Servas coordinator and we were going to discuss it and take it to a complete state. Most of the items of the roadmap were pretty trivial and were quickly agreed upon. However we ran into a disagreement on one point. The draft included the option of outsourcing some of the programming to a commercial company.

This illustrates very well the difficulties for two independant organizations to join forces in a common goal. In particular when, like in our case, it is two philantropic organizations with very similar mindsets and an emphasis on democracy. You'd think it would go very smoothly... Think again :) . But the cool thing about democratic organization is that they always find a good consensus. And we draw much satisfaction from that democratic process.

Historically, BeWelcome is a volunteer project. It is written in many places on the website that nobody is getting paid for anything. Servas has no such history and finds it pretty normal to hire external help if they don't have the volunteer ressources to reach their goals. None of those two approaches is "bad", but they are a bit incompatible.

The main issue comes from the fact that BeWelcome lacks the skilled programmers necessary to carry out this project. So something needs to be done.

So, what compromise? Well, we decided that we would hire help for documenting the existing code (which is not programming in any way), that is a difficult and boring task that volunteers are reluctant to pick up. And possibly to design mockups of the final product (which code will be separated from the BeWelcome software). The actual coding would still be done by volunteers.

And, to make it possible, we will organize a "coding week-end" where new-coming programmers will be invited as well as old-timers to kickstart the production of code in a friendly and relaxed setting. Nobody gets paid, but expenses will be covered.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for later news.

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