Managing Research Software Projects

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About the Workshop

This workshop introduces the ideas and tools you need to manage a team of up to a dozen people working together to build research software. Topics range from how to make new contributors feel welcome to workflow, licensing, and software design, and every lesson includes hands-on exercises.

Learner Persona

Jo, 31, completed a PhD in geology several years ago and now works for a national laboratory. The fracture modeling software they wrote in grad school is now being used by two dozen research groups around the world, several of which have started contributing fixes and extensions of varying quality. Jo has just been given a post-doc and a junior programmer to expand the code as well, and wants to learn how to decide which pull requests are safe to merge, decide what's most important to work on next, and handle people who spend more time arguing on Slack than they do writing code. This workshop will show them what a healthy mid-sized project looks like and how to manage both staff and external contributors.

Day 1

Start Subject Summary
10:00 Introduction Who you are, who’s teaching this workshop, what we’re going to cover, and how to participate.
10:15 Governance Figuring out who gets to decide what and how to tell when a decision has been made.
11:15 Break
11:30 Communication How to help people understand what you’re doing and how to use what you’ve built.
12:15 Workflow Managing who does what and when.
12:45 Break
13:00 Newcomers How to attract new contributors and help them feel welcome and be productive.
14:00 Finish

Day 2

Start Subject Summary
10:00 Design Guidelines for creating software that is maintainable and reliable.
11:00 Break
11:15 Mechanics The structure and operation of a medium-sized research software project.
12:15 Break
12:30 Leadership Things you need to do now that you’re in charge.
13:30 Change Because sometimes the only way to fix a problem is to fix the institution.
14:00 Finish


Subject Summary
Software Engineering What we actually know about (building) software and why we believe it’s true.
Robustness Making research software robust enough to be run by anyone, anywhere.
Partnering Building good working relationships between academia and industry.
Findability There’s no point building it if people can’t find it.
Online Safety Being a leader doesn’t have to mean being a target.
Being Fired Departure isn’t always voluntary.
Moving On Because every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.


License Code of Conduct Contributing Bibliography Glossary Credits