Rust 2019 (3): Less Reliance On Individuals

It’s no secret, the Rust project currently has a scaling problem. And most of the times, this scaling problem has a name. Some things in the Rust community are attached to a person, not a team or a working group. The reason why that happened is not a problem. At the beginning of a project, there’s a ton of work to do and planning is expensive. What you need at that time is a number of highly motivated individual tinkerers that know their way around and that you can trust to do the right thing. This is the reason why a team of 20 of such people can be effective. But it is also the reason it may break down the moment each of the tasks is just not doable by one of person alone anymore.

I think we are seeing this problem: far too many topics have a person as a champion and everyone orients towards them. This manifests in some effects:

I think I’m personally experiencing this problem in the community team and the events team, so this problem is close to me. After >10 conferences, more then a hundred meetups and 3,5 years in the events team, I have a ton of experience running conferences. But I’m struggling with people feeling empowered to do their own thing against that backdrop and not taking my experiences for the best that are there. There’s tons of flaws in what I do and there’s things I’m not good at. My definite goal for the events team next year is that (events team) minus Florian Gilcher is an events team as good as before. This also means that we must grow more leaders, either from the current ones or by taking new people on board.

Making the project at large independent of individual names is the next step of our growth. The Rust project itself has always had the policy that it should be based on consensus and consent within the teams, the actual implementation stands and falls with our willingness to not accept the senior peoples word as a word of authority.