Running Sprints & Community Events

This activity is designed to get you started on the planning for your first sprint or community event.

All levels


This is a short writing/thinking exercise. Best done with a event co-organizer or event planning team.

Target Audience

Anyone that would like to organize a well-planned, welcoming sprint or community event.


  • Pen & Paper
  • A collaborative document like Google docs or etherpad
  • Your favourite spreadsheet application


Planning project-based sprints or community events is a great way to bring leaders and contributors together to collaborate and share.

From your project perspective events can help kickstarter your project or build momentum for your work.

Well organized, welcoming and inclusive sprints & events take some time to prepare. A well planned event ensures that your participants will have a rewarding experience.

Steps to Complete

Consider the following questions in each section and answer them as detailed as possible. We,ve provided tips to help you better plan, and suggestions of the kind of materials and needs you might consider.

  1. Pre-sprint planning

    • Initial Considerations

      • - What is the overal goal/purpose of your event ?
      • - Who is your target audience ?
      • - What is the format for the event ?
      • - Is there a budget ?
      • - When will the event take place ?

      Tip: In picking a date remember to consider any special events / religious holidays / family time / seasonal workloads.

      Create a checklist:

      • - Make a list of tasks that need to be completed and group based on timeframes.
      • - Assign an amount of time needed to complete the task.
      • - Order the tasks taking into consideration any dependancies, ie. tasks that can't be started before another task is finished.
      • - Look at any dependancies, ie. tasks that can't be started before another task is finished.
      • - Identify points where you may need help from others such as MSL team, a design team or individuals/groups in your institution or community.
      • - Enter your task into your favourite calendar software adding reminders or spreadsheet software, or github as a project management issue.

      Tip: Work backwards from key dates, looking at any dependencies that may impact completion of any task.

      Venue and Room Set-up:

      • - Where will the event be held ? Take a moment to think about three possible places for your event.
      • - How many will it need to hold ?
      • - How will the room be arranged ?
      • - Are there lots of power options ?

      Tip: When considering a venue make sure to pick one that is accessible, close to public transit and has parking options for those coming from a distance. Also think about a space that allows lots of participant engagement and casual working areas so that there is lots of opportunity to encourage conversations.

      Tip: The room should be large enough to hold all attendees at round tables. For example, for a group of 60 attendees there should be room for 8-10 tables, if the tables seat 6-8 attendees. There should be space at the front of the room for a podium, a flip chart, and projection screen that is visible to all attendees.

      Food and Beverage:

      • - Is there a budget for food.
      • - What food will you provide ?

      Tip: Food and beverage service is not required, but is typically appreciated by attendees. Taking breaks over food encourages conversation and provides an opportunity for others to hear what is being worked on. For full-day workshops, it is recommended that light breakfast items along with coffee and tea be provided in the morning, lunch at midday, and a light snack during an afternoon break. It is useful to have coffee and water provided throughout the day, if possible.

      Event Promotion:

      • - How will you promote your event ?
      • - What contacts do you have in the community that you can reach out to ?
      • - What groups are active in your area that match your target audience ?

      Tip: Promoting is very key to the success of the event. Getting the information about your event out to communities that match your target audience will help to ensure that strong and relevant connections and collaborations are developed.

      Tip: The following is a suggested list of ways to promote your event.

      • - Personal Contacts
      • - Email distribution lists
      • - Twitter
      • - Meetup groups - contact the organizers to see if they will promote your event
      • - Local newspapers (if you have budget)
      • - Event page on your website
      • - Blogging about your event

      Audio-Visual Needs:

      • - What A/V setup do you need to accommodate the sprint format ?
      • - What will the venue provide ?
      • - What will you have to bring ?

      Tip: The following is a suggested list of ways to promote your event.

      • - Podium with microphone or other appropriate speaking spot for the facilitator
      • - Handheld wireless microphone for groups larger than 50 attendees
      • - LCD projector
      • - Projection screen
      • - Computer with USB port, and internet access
      • - Video/audio projection capability through computer and audio hookup (i.e., for playing video with sound from laptop)
      • - Flip chart and markers
      • - Whiteboards



is an event where project leads connect with contributors from the community to work on open source projects.

Local sprint

is an event that has projects, project leads and contributors that come from the local area.

Global Sprint

is an event with multiple sites around the world where participants work on projects for a set time period within their timezone.


a person that contributes content or services to an open source project.

Project Lead

a person that is the main contact for a particular project.


the place where the sprint will be held.


promotional merchandise given away at events, trade fairs or conferences.

Follow-up Resources & Materials

Thank You !