Mentoring Best Practices

Mentoring is a service both to mentees and organization. By providing a praise-worthy mentoring, you are not only adding value to your profile, you are also setting path clear for future mentees to enroll into the project. Mentoring mentees who are geographically far from you can be quite challenging as there are time zone differences for which you need to take some extra effort in decision making while scheduling meetings. Once a mentee is assigned to you, you are expected to work on the following guidelines:

Provide Feedback

For sure, there will be applicants who won’t make it to the program. As a mentor, it’s your responsibility to provide feedback to those unlucky mentees, letting them know that their applications were valued. This way it leaves a good impression on the program, especially on you, and has a good impact on the enthusiastic mentees to apply again. Not just when mentees don’t get selected, provide timely feedback to the selected mentees as well who undergo this training program.

Conduct Introductory Session

Your community is a collection of people from across the globe. So, introducing mentees to the community and asking sentences to introduce themselves make mentees feel comfortable and help them effectively participate in the communication channel without any hesitation. Conducting a video conference is advisable. This way people from across the globe will get a chance to see each other that makes communication more engaging.

Keep the Communication Open

Effective communication between you and your mentee is the key to a successful mentorship program. This ensures that mentees are making progress and mentors are helping mentees resolve blockers, readjust milestones/tasks if needed and so on. Also, always share your contact details if you update, let Mentees know about your leaves very before. However, ensure that you have provided enough tasks to complete before you go on vacation.

Schedule Regular Meetings

Regular meetings help you to keep a good track of mentee statuses and to know if they have any concerns to raise. Considering the remote training of this mentorship program, it’s always advisable to hear from mentees more often than once a week.

Discuss on Status Report

Depending on projects, mentees will send periodic status reports. Discuss with mentees and finalize the format and frequency of status report well ahead of the program starts. You can send them a template to refer to.

Choose Public Communication Channel

For queries and other project related discussions, always choose, ask and encourage mentees to choose public channels on various communication mediums, depending on your project. This way, it helps all other members to understand and get answers even before they ask certain questions.

Let Mentees Lead Occasionally

As a mentor, you are not just teaching mentees, but also you are preparing future mentors. So, at times, when you are asked any question that you have explained earlier, ask mentees to answer the question in the channel. It boosts their confidence, and lets them grow their leadership quality. Pitch in and take control if you see that things are not going in the right direction.

Long term view

Evaluate your mentee from the view point of current project at hand, as well as long term prospects to become successful open source developer. Ask yourself if a mentee candidate can become a productive member of the community. “If mentee continues with the rest of the program, do you believe mentee will become a productive member of the kernel community?”

Be prepared to make tough decisions when a mentee isn’t meeting project/program requirements in collaboration with the Project Maintainer(s). The primary goal is training the next generation of open source developers.