Managing Research Software Projects


About the Workshop

This workshop introduces the ideas and tools you need to manage a team of up to a dozen people working together to build research software. Topics range from what a minimum viable project looks like technically through bringing new people on board to getting the word out about your work, deciding what to build next, and keeping everyone on track.

The workshop consists of four hour-long sessions delivered online on consecutive days or weekly. Participants are expected to spend half an hour to an hour on exercises after each session.

Learner Persona

Jess, 31, completed a PhD in ecology three years ago and now works for a national lab. The data cleanup and simulation software they wrote in grad school is being used by two dozen research groups around the world, several of which have started contributing fixes and extensions of varying quality. Jess has just been given a post-doc and a junior programmer, and needs to decide which pull requests are safe to merge, what everyone should work on next, and how to handle people who spend more time arguing on Slack than writing code. This workshop will show them what a healthy mid-sized project looks like and how to manage both staff and external contributors.


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Day Topic Details
1 Introduction Who we are and where we're going
A Minimum Viable Project A technology base we can build on
2 Newcomers How to bring new people into the project
Governance How to manage meetings and make decisions
3 Marketing Making sure people know how you can help them
Human Resources Hiring, firing, and in between
4 Product Management Building the right thing
Project Management On time, on spec, and on budget
Next Steps How to take over (a small part of) the world

Greg Wilson

Dr. Greg Wilson was the co-founder and first executive director of Software Carpentry and is the author, co-author, or co-editor of several books, including Research Software Engineering with Python, Teaching Tech Together, and The Architecture of Open Source Applications. A recipient of ACM SIGSOFT's Influential Educator of the Year award and a member of the Python Software Foundation, Greg is currently a software engineer at Deep Genomics in Toronto. His web design skills are mediocre at best.

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