How many engineers does it take to turn a CDT?

We had our regular monthly CDT contributors call yesterday. These are usually low key things where we quickly touch base, talk about release planning and the occasional technical issue. We’ve had calls that have lasted only 20 minutes. Sometimes they’ll stretch to the whole hour if someone brings up a technical issue and we talk slow enough about it.

This months meeting struck me a little differently though. First of all, I was able to get a full head count and we had 21 people on the call. Of those people, I’d say 16 of them were people that have contributed code or are planning on contributing code. I also know that there were 3 or 4 such people that weren’t on the call. I found that I had to cut off discussions and table them for future meetings because we were going to run past the hour we have allocated.

When I joined QNX last year and was handed leadership of the CDT, I remember mentioning to Mike M. that we had a hard time attracting contributors. At the time we really only had 5 or so people actively contributing. We knew the interest in the CDT was high and just needed to find a way to turn at least some of that interest into contributions so that we could continue to grow the CDT.

I’d have to say now we are finally getting the attention that the CDT needs. With contributors counting around 20 and a lot of people out in the community testing and raising bugs, I’m starting to feel like we can actually reach the goals I had personally for the CDT and go way beyond. We have a bright collection of talent now and they are all doing great things. Even over the last week as we opened up CDT 4.0 development, there have been some cool enhancements going in (like common navigator support) and I can’t wait to try our first weekly build on Monday.

But the thing that really struck after the meeting was that I am going to be a busy man. With this many people contributing to the CDT, it’s going to be a great challenge to make sure we don’t run over each other. Communication is going to be key and I will take on the responsibility to make sure this communication happens and to facilitate the resolution of any conflicts that may arise. It’s going to be a great run, though, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish as a team.