2021 OpenMRS Google Season of Docs (GSoD) Project

Problems We're Trying to Solve

The OpenMRS community welcomes individuals with expertise in software development and quality assurance from different backgrounds to our community. Two challenges prevent us from effectively linking these newcomers to projects that correspond to their skills and interest - and converting them into regular, long-term contributors: 

  1. Limited guiding documentation to onboard newcomers to new community projects.
  2. Limited technical writing capacity to create new and maintain existing Getting Started Guides for onboarding purposes.

As a result, many go through a painful onboarding experience, particularly those who do not have a software development background, and remain at our entry-level OpenMRS Developer Stage. We see too many newcomers leave the community before they even begin to make meaningful contributions. For example, a recent experience with an OpenMRS internship program brought 140 newcomers to the community. After three months, only one remained engaged in the community and advanced to our beginner developer stage (/dev/2).

Our Solution

Our community is currently undergoing a renaissance, with smaller groups of community members driving new and exciting projects forward in response to user needs. The opportunities to make meaningful contributions to our community have never been better. This is the moment for our community to address these problems.

Our solution is two-pronged: 

  1. Strong Getting Started Guides that support an engaging onboarding process for multiple community projects. With an easier and faster onboarding experience, developers will be in a position to make more meaningful, quality contributions to the project of their choice, earlier on in their community experience. 
  2. A documentation toolkit for writing smart Getting Started Guides, including a template and sample guide. With a clear process, templates, and examples to follow, community technical writers will be able to update the Getting Started Guides developed through this project and create new ones when new community projects emerge.

This project will assist our community to sustainably develop and maintain documentation that supports an easy and friendly environment for those who join and are interested in contributing to this community as they get started contributing to the different areas of software development and quality assurance.

Community Approach

Our community approaches each project with sustainability in mind. We achieve this by integrating opportunities for community member professional development into each project. We intend to use this investment to establish two OpenMRS Technical Writer I Fellowships, thus expanding our community’s talent pipeline for creating and maintaining guides for onboarding newcomers.   

With the oversight and support of community volunteers on our Documentation Team, these fellows will work closely with a senior-level Technical Writer to test out and use the Getting Started template and process to create additional guides. As a result of this approach, the number of Getting Started Guides will be expanded from the single Getting Started Guide included in the Getting Started Guide Documentation Toolkit to as many as four Getting Started Guides. Potential, priority Getting Started Guides identified by the community include:

  • Getting Started with 3.0: How to Develop with Microfrontends and Carbon
  • Getting Started with OpenMRS Upgrades
  • Getting Started with Quality Assurance
  • Getting Started with FHIR
  • Getting Started with OCL for OpenMRS

In the end, all these projects will ensure that our community has a robust, sustainable onboarding process supported by community maintained documentation.

Project Scope

The goal of this project is to create a “Getting Started Guide” Documentation Toolkit that includes a “Getting Started Guide” template, process guidance, and a sample guide that the community can use to develop other Getting Started Guides in response to the community’s needs.

Project Activities, and Timeline

The project will take approximately six months. The first three months will mainly concentrate on establishing the core elements of the Getting Started Guide Documentation Toolkit (Objectives 1 and 2),  while the last three months will focus on finalizing the toolkit and using it to mentor Technical Writing Fellows on its use as they create additional Getting Started Guides (Objective 3). 

Objectives & Activities









Objective 1: Document the process and practices for writing & updating “Getting Started Guides”

Activity 1.1: Document a process and best practices for writing OpenMRS “Getting Started Guides.”

Activity 1.2: Use “OpenMRS University” sessions to introduce the community to the process and best practices for writing “Getting Started Guides.”

Activity 1.3: Revise and publish practices & process for writing and maintaining Getting Started Guides as a part of the “Getting Started Guide” Toolkit on the OpenMRS Wiki

Objective 2: Publish a “Getting Started Guide” template on the OpenMRS Wiki

Activity 2.1: Develop a “Getting Started Guide” template, referencing real examples and recent community needs to inform the template.

Activity 2.2: Review the Getting Started Guide template with the OpenMRS community

Activity 2.3: Revise the Getting Started Guide Documentation Toolkit based on feedback

Objective 3: Publish up to four “Getting Started Guides”

Activity 3.1: Create a “Getting Started Guide” to serve as an example for future guides.

Activity 3.2: Facilitate weekly paired writing sessions with the Technical Writing Fellows and the community to develop priority “Getting Started Guides.”

Activity 3.3: Review & test the Getting Started Guides with target audiences/squads.

Activity 3.4: Integrate feedback and finalize Getting Started Guides

To Apply:

Please submit a statement of interest, including links to your CV and technical writing samples, that addresses the responsibilities and skills outlined above. Share your availability for an informational interview using this Doodle poll.

Please send this information or your questions to jobs@openmrs.org.

Applications are due on May 12, 2021. Priority will be given to candidates submitting their application by May 7, 2021.