Roles and Responsibilities

There are always a lot of questions about what the expectations are for each role in the GSoC program. Organizations have developed their own, and this has resulted in wide variation. This documentation aims to standardize expectations across all participating organizations.

Individual organizations may have additional roles and responsibilities. Talk to your Organization Administrator for more information.

GSoC Contributor Responsibilities your Mentor

  • Submit quality work (code)
  • Regularly communicate work completed, what you intend to do next, and blockers
    • Ask for help when something is preventing you from achieving a goal
    • Give indication that you are alive and working daily
  • Re-evaluate work scope when significantly ahead of expectations
  • Communicate with your mentor AND the broader community
  • Inform when work capacity will be reduced, as early as possible (e.g., family, health, other work)
  • Listen and respond to feedback the Org Admin

  • Let them know when there are
    • Interaction issues with any mentor or community member
    • Significant disagreements involving your work or changes to your work plan

Mentor Responsibilities your Org Admin

  • Communicate availability and interaction expectations
  • Inform when mentoring capacity will be reduced, as early as possible (e.g., family, health, vacation)
  • Inform when there is an issue with a GSoC contributor
    • Lacking communication, activity, visibility (MIA), or progress
    • Participant Agreement violations (e.g., plagiarism, harassment, fraud)
    • Bad fit or stepping down
  • Formally evaluate GSoC contributor participation
    • Communicate with admin and GSoC contributor before failing your GSoC contributors

  • Help and/or teach the GSoC contributor how to
    • be a part of your community
    • communicate more effectively and in the open
    • work with your org’s preferred communication channel (IRC, Slack, etc)
    • use your org’s version control system
    • ask good questions and get answers to their questions
    • provide convincing technical argument and constructive discussion
    • give attribution correctly and how to select an open source license
    • be independently motivated and productive
    • solve difficult technical problems
  • Keep track of their progress, keep GSoC contributor informed as to their status
  • Communicate on a regular basis:
    • At least twice a week or better
  • Give constructive feedback, be patient, and be respectful
  • Establish realistic work objectives and timeline expectations
  • Re-evaluate scope with GSoC contributor when significantly ahead of or behind expectations
  • Work with devs and community to facilitate acceptance of GSoC contributor work

Org Admin Responsibilities Google

  • Frame org participation, org selection criteria, and org-specific operating procedures
  • Submit the org application and be the org’s representative
  • Serve as communication liaison with Google
    • Respond to any inquiries from Google within 36 hours
    • Report Participant Agreement violations (e.g., harassment, plagiarism, fraud)
    • Report GSoC contributor withdrawal
  • Ensure all deadlines are met (e.g., slot requests, mentor evaluations, org payment account creation)
  • Select and invite trusted, capable, and qualified mentors
  • Provide and maintain an adequate list of project ideas
  • Oversee activity of all mentors and GSoC contributors ensuring responsibilities are being met
  • Respond to Google's survey post GSoC (with questions around GSoC contributor retention, etc.) your Mentors

  • Frame org participation, mentor requirements, failure process, and procedure
  • Communicate mentor expectations before the program starts
  • Communicate GSoC contributor selection, continued participation, and dismissal policy
    • Provide selection criteria for slot allocations
    • Describe how Participant Agreement violations and failure will be handled
  • Continuously evaluate mentor interaction with GSoC contributors
    • Recognize conflicts of interest, interpersonal issues, and replace as necessary
  • Let mentors know when more project ideas are needed
  • Maintain regular communication with mentors before and during the program
  • Ensure adequate and appropriate mentoring coverage, particularly near holidays your GSoC contributors

  • Let GSoC contributors know how, when, and why to contact the org admin
  • Ensure GSoC contributors are introduced and become appropriately integrated
  • Communicate org-specific requirements (e.g., time, coding, communication, licensing)
  • Communicate org-specific expectations (e.g., behavior, best practices, visibility)
  • Communicate deadlines, acceptance criteria, and failure/dismissal policy
  • Monitor communications and ensure inappropriate behavior is addressed
  • Ensure GSoC contributors at risk of failure or dismissal are notified in advance

Special thanks to Sean, Terri, Hong Phuc, Valorie, and Mario, veteran GSoC and GCI Organization Administrators, for working with Google's Program Administrators to put this document together.

Org Admin vs Mentor

Org Admins are the managers for an organization.

One of their responsibilities is to maintain the task list -- to make sure the tasks are appropriate for your org and that there are a sufficient number available across all categories. When you have many mentors creating tasks there will be considerable variation and some tasks will be better defined than others. As Org Admin you should look at the tasks before publishing them to make sure that the mentors are providing enough detail for students to understand the task and successfully complete it. In a nutshell: Org Admins are doing quality control for their task lists -- this is why only Org Admins can publish tasks.

Org Admins are also responsible for ensuring that there are enough Mentors, and that others are covering when there is illness or vacation. They may also need to mediate differences between Mentors or step in when a Student or Mentor steps out of line.

Mentors should focus on interacting with students and reviewing work, leaving the Org Admins free to deal with the administrative issues.

Some Org Admins may also act as a Mentor, if they have time.