Organization administrator and mentor responsibilities

Current phase:
The 2019 Season of Docs program finished on March 6, 2020. See timeline.

The organization administrators taking part in Season of Docs have certain responsibilities towards the mentors in their open source organization, towards the technical writer participants, and towards Google.

Open source mentors taking part in Season of Docs also have responsibilities towards their open source organization, the technical writer participants, and the Google program administrators.

This document describes the responsibilities that apply across all participating open source organizations. Individual organizations may have additional roles and responsibilities. Talk to your organization's administrative team for more information.

Organization administrator responsibilities

These are the responsibilities of the administrators within the open source organizations.

Your responsibilities towards Google

  • Define organization participation, organization selection criteria, and organization-specific operating procedures
  • Submit the organization application and be the organization’s representative
  • Serve as communication liaison with Google
    • Respond to any inquiries from Google within 36 hours
    • Report violations of the Participant Agreement (for example, harassment, plagiarism, fraud)
    • Report the withdrawal of a technical writer
  • Ensure all deadlines are met (for example, mentor evaluations, organization invoices)
  • Select and invite trusted, capable, and qualified mentors
  • Provide and maintain an adequate list of project and task ideas
  • Oversee activity of all mentors and technical writers, ensuring responsibilities are met

Your responsibilities towards your mentors

  • Define organization participation, mentor requirements, failure process, and procedure
  • Communicate mentor expectations before the program starts
  • Communicate technical writer selection, continued participation, and dismissal policy
    • Provide selection criteria for Season of Docs slot allocations
    • Describe how Participant Agreement violations and failure will be handled
  • Continuously evaluate mentor interaction with technical writers
    • Recognize conflicts of interest, interpersonal issues, and replace a mentor if necessary
  • Let mentors know when more tasks or project ideas are needed
  • Maintain regular communication with mentors before and during the program
  • Ensure adequate and appropriate mentoring coverage, particularly near holidays

Your responsibilities towards your technical writers

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

Mentor responsibilities

These are the responsibilities of the mentors within the open source organizations.

Responsibilities towards your open source organization

  • Communicate availability and interaction expectations
  • Inform when mentoring capacity will be reduced, as early as possible (for example, family, health, vacation)
  • Inform when there is an issue with a technical writer, including:
    • Lacking communication, activity, visibility, or progress
    • Participant Agreement violations (for example, plagiarism, harassment, fraud)
    • Bad fit for the project, or stepping down
  • Formally evaluate technical writer participation.
    • Communicate with organization administrator and technical writer before marking the project as failed

Responsibilities towards the technical writer

These are your responsibilities towards the technical writer that you're mentoring:

  • Help and/or teach the technical writer how to
    • be a part of your community
    • communicate more effectively and in the open
    • work with your organization’s preferred communication channel (IRC, Slack, etc)
    • use your organization’s version control system
    • ask good questions and get answers to their questions
    • provide convincing technical argument and constructive discussion
    • be independently motivated and productive
    • solve difficult technical problems
  • Keep track of their progress, keep technical writer informed about their status
  • Communicate on a regular basis:
    • Have regular communication at least twice a week
    • Respond to questions within 24 hours (occasionally under 36 hours is OK)
  • Give constructive feedback, be patient, and be respectful
  • Establish realistic work objectives and timeline expectations
  • Re-evaluate scope with technical writer when significantly ahead of or behind expectations
  • Work with developers and community to facilitate acceptance of technical writer work