YOU are the community

May 22, 2023 by Walter Bentley

New year, new role, new strategy…2023 is officially the year when I return to my roots. Back in 2014, I officially became part of the Ansible community. Admittingly, back then my focus was solely on figuring out how to best demonstrate to my customers the power of having a OpenStack private cloud. Anyone who has ever stood up or experimented with OpenStack knows that this is a tall order. Imagine having to stand up that platform over and over again on a daily basis. My focus was to find a way—a tool—that could help me do that, so I could focus on helping solve the customers' true challenges. Fast forward to now, and the decision to do it with Ansible still stands as the best choice hands down.

Many of you have stories just like mine. You are seeking out a way to simplify your daily tasks, so you can focus on the business. Just like me, you have decided that Ansible is the tool to do it. Before I started in this new role, I did some reflecting on my experience as part of the community. I have so many encouraging, positive, and fun stories I could share. Our community is truly amazing. The level of collaboration and desire to help are out of this world. Even with all those positive vibes, at times I would question whether or not I was giving back on the appropriate level. 

Looking back now, I understand better the dynamics of a community and understand that those of us who are consumers are just as valuable as the contributors. This realization sparked some further ideas about inclusiveness—the feeling of truly belonging. I asked myself the questions “Who makes up our community?” and “Do they know they are a pivotal part of the community?”

Hence the title of our blog today, YOU are the community. Each and every one of us who love and use Ansible are an integral part of the community, and I’d like to share a vision for our shared future. 

 

That vision consists of:

  • A strong and focused mission

Rally the community around desired work streams by creating a centralized space to attract more community involvement and accelerate their impact. 

  • Cultivation of inclusiveness

Harvest the wide knowledge of the community to further create an environment of independence and assist in crafting ways of working that resolve disagreements and dissolve roadblocks quickly.

  • Inspiration, creativity, and collaboration

Encourage sustained focus and shared problem-solving, remove boundaries, and support all ideas (no idea is too impossible).

  • An understanding that failure is not fatal

Try new approaches, create new capabilities, and identify inflection points quickly—then pivot when needed.

  • More frequent recognition of success

Call out, reward, and celebrate the wins of the community members often.

 

We formed the strategy for the community from these tenets…big shout out to Greg Sutcliffe and Carol Chen for leading that charge. This strategy will help all of us stay focused to deliver the capabilities needed to uphold the vision. Over the next months, expect to see new tooling introduced to the community to foster better collaboration, increase overall upstream participation, and put the well-deserved spotlight on those of you who are doing great work on a daily basis. 

While these capabilities are being put in place, it feels like a good time to remind each of you that your voice matters. We absolutely need and want you to have a seat at the table. Some of you may be asking yourself “How can I help?” or may even be doubting if you are actually part of the community. So I want to debunk any doubts early, right here…right now. YOU are the community…our community consists of many different personas, such as contributors, users (which very much includes customers), partners and vendors. Each persona brings different value.

 

Contributors

You know who you are. These are our keyboard warriors who are actively contributing to any of the many Ansible-focused projects. Whether it is a simple PR to suggest better execution output or something very complex like fixing a Core runtime error, you are all contributors. Learn more about becoming a contributor.

 

Users

I was, and still very much am, in this category. There is no shame in that at all! For those of us who are using Ansible on a daily basis or rely heavily on it to solve some sort of business need, we are Ansible users. There is so much value in what users can offer to a contributor and vice versa. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform users are also very much part of the active user community. Please know this, and I challenge you to connect with the contributors in the community. I think you will find a lot of benefit in that as you both are working through complex automation use cases. Learn how you can help.

 

Partners and vendors

These are our long-standing and foundational members of the community. They have brought multiple levels of much-needed integration into the Ansible project. They also assist with customers to help drive automation adoption—and truly innovate. To our partners and vendors: your participation in the community brings a huge impact to the current community, and you open the pathway for those joining us in the future. 

 

No matter which category you count yourself in, know that YOU are part of the Ansible community. Thank you for helping make Ansible what it is. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2023 has in store for all of us.

If you have not visited our refreshed community page, please take a moment to check it out. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Bullhorn for live updates and our progress on developing a new community web presence. No matter what, know that we are all in this together. Let’s ”Automate as One.” 

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Topics:
Community, AnsibleFest


 

Walter Bentley

Walter Bentley is the Director of Community Strategy for Red Hat Ansible Automation. Moving into this role, Walter was able to return to his roots where he started his Ansible journey back in 2014. He has the privilege of representing the Ansible community on a leadership level within Red Hat. Walter spends his time helping to fulfill the community’s needs and create opportunities to support their overall success. His passion is to evangelize the energy and connecting power of automation by encouraging everyone using Ansible to feel included within the community. Walter has more than 20 years of experience in many areas including online marketing, financial services, insurance, aviation, education, technology, and the food industry. He loves presenting and speaking regularly at conferences like Red Hat Summit, AnsibleFest, and participating in webinars, blog posts, and technical reviews. His first book, OpenStack Administration with Ansible, was released in 2016. Today he’s an automation advocate and cloud educator. He presents and speaks regularly at AnsibleFest, OpenStack Summits and other technology conferences, plus webinars, blog posts and technical reviews. His first book, ‘OpenStack Administration with Ansible’ was released in 2016.


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