It can be daunting to start something new. Whether it is joining an online community for the first time, or learning the many ins and outs of GitHub, newcomers always need – and deserve – support in getting up to speed.
Removing barriers for new community members and providing educational resources is exactly the aim of Sharing is Caring. The group assists members of the Microsoft 365 Patterns and Practices (PnP) community with free, hands-on training to remove help them contribute.
Each session provides instructive and collaborative guidance on a multitude of topics, from tips on presenting to the configuration of SPFx Workstation and best practices for Docs and GitHub. Office Apps & Services MVP Emily Mancini says that Sharing is Caring provides an important place for collaboration and contribution in a smaller setting.
“Many community members have no previous experience with GitHub proving to be a hurdle to sharing or using samples,” Emily says. “But by the end of the ‘First-Time Contributors’ session, all attendees will have completed their first pull request and navigated through GitHub. Many people learn best by doing, so creating this separate GitHub repository as a safe practice space allows us to learn together.”
“We have found that working directly with community members in a safe space allowed a better opportunity to become familiar and comfortable with GitHub. We also do not record the sessions as we want everyone to feel comfortable asking any questions.”
PnP is a community-driven, open-source initiative where Microsoft and external community members share their learnings around implementation practices for Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint. Emily says the Sharing is Caring group often discusses a sense of belonging in the community and focuses on empowering all members to contribute.
As the group removes entry barriers for members, the result is an increase in contributions. “We see many community members taking off like rockets with their articles and sample contributions,” Emily says. “Many of these contributions then grow to become a demo on the bi-weekly SharePoint Framework community calls.”
Moving forward, the group looks to grow further: “We aim to continue expanding our offerings as the community helps us identify more barriers to adoption,” Emily says. “We’ll be adding more in-depth sessions on how to contribute to various open-source repositories.”
For further information or to contact the team, reach out via the website.