The #1 pain point in OpenStack, for contributors and users alike, is complexity. While cutting down complexity everywhere we can is critical; proper documentation is essential in addressing that complexity. It directly benefits operators and users of OpenStack, but also facilitates ramping up new direct contributors to the project itself.
The documentation team has been struggling with limited resources since the dawn of OpenStack, despite the heroic efforts of previous team members. The community outlined an ambitious plan to decentralize the Documentation team, turning it into a guidance and mentoring support team. To be successful, project teams need to own their documentation, which means that the role of documentation owners will be critical.
Volunteers for this role will drive this ambitious transition, by being members of their project team and members of the new decentralized documentation team. On the long-term, they will become a reference go-to person in their project, and respected mentors in the OpenStack community.
Increased Operational Efficiency¶
Documentation naturally disseminates knowledge, but it should also be easy for readers to find what they are looking for. This process reduces bottlenecks on human resources and support by allowing users, operators, and contributors to find answers to questions themselves. Less time spent answering common questions means more time focusing on more complicated requests, maintenance, and code.
Contributors come from all different backgrounds and experiences. As a result, they often share similar questions about high-level concepts or processes used within the OpenStack community or components. Consistently documenting processes enables contributors without requiring them to pull tribal knowledge from an existing developer. This documentation fast-tracks contributors to making productive contributions.
Users, customers, and operators are required to reference a vast pool of documentation spread across multiple repositories and sites. Implementing consistency in wording, format, content, and location provides readers with a first-class experience. Additionally, users build confidence and trust in software when it is well documented.
For questions about getting involved with this initiative, reach out to the OpenStack Discuss mailing list. You may also contact the Documentation PTL or the Technical Committee sponsor for this item (dhellmann).