Over on his blog, Dave Neary investigates
mentoring programs, like Google Summer of Code and others, to see what works and what doesn't. In particular, he looks at why so few of those who are mentored end up as project contributors, and what can be done to change that. "Mentored tasks should be small, bite-sized, and allow the apprentice to succeed or fail fast. This has a number of advantages: The apprentice who won't stick around, or who will accomplish nothing, has not wasted a lot of your mentor's time. The apprentice who will stay around gets a quick win, gets his name in the ChangeLog, and gains assurance in his ability to contribute. And the quick feedback loop is incredibly rewarding for the mentor, who sees his apprentice attack new tasks and increase his productivity in short order.
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