The Urban League Heat Pump Accelerator project has grown in the new year. Last night we had nearly thirty people participating in our project. This includes a stable of dedicated regulars that have been pushing the different project groups forward: data, front-end, back-end, and now marketing. With that momentum we are hoping to ship our project in the next month or two.
Why It Matters
Participation and growth drives the success of executing a project at Code for Boston. Some folks like to hang on and observe, but once we hit this scale we have a good number of doers that can ship code or write content. If the Urban League can make a partnership project like this work, so can your non-profit or government organization. Just send us your ideas.
GitHub Codespaces Works
On the backend team we’ve been rapidly building out our JSON API using a mob programming approach in Visual Studio Code. GitHub Codespaces combined with the live share extension has made it much easier for new folks to contribute. We have a bunch of folks that have not coded in Ruby on Rails before, or not done it in a long time, and they have been able to get up to speed quick with Codespaces.
Your Choice of Programming Language Does Not Matter
The biggest lesson I have taken from this project is all the thought I have put into picking programming languages for Code for Boston projects (and wanting language diversity) does not matter much. For the most part folks that want to participate will accept what is available. You just need to do the work for setup and onboarding (see the Codespaces advice above). My new rule of thumb: just choose what a dedicated starting person knows well.
Divide and Conquer
The other thing we have done well is split up into teams with different domains of concern. It has given great folks opportunity to take on leadership roles within the project. Since each area has someone tending to it, it is easier to bring in more volunteers to help. Creating multiple sub-teams is one of the best decisions we made.