Capturing advice I left for the sands of time.
- Set a clear mission statement for the project. This will give clarity to the problem you’re solving, what to say yes to, and what to say no to. You ideally want to avoid crises of faith late in the project.
- For your contributors, clarify involvement expectations. When most contributors are doing so in their “free” time (e.g. not getting paid directly for it), it’s really difficult to budget for unlimited development scope. A little bit of proper project management goes a long way. I feel like WP-API is a much more sustainable project with four contributing developers than two. I would encourage you to have at least three.
- Model your data before writing code. What is a field? What attributes should it have and why? What is a control? What attributes should it have and why? When you dive into development before appropriately modeling your application, you run into these implementation details one by one, and burn a lot of time (waiting to) discuss them.
- Focus on clearing blockers above all else. Because you’re working on an open source project with contributors across many timezones, average time to feedback will optimistically be 6 hours. More likely, it will be 24-48 hours. This slow feedback cycle can kill progress on pull requests. As a project maintainer, prioritize giving feedback, clearing blockers, and making decisions.