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While I have plenty of project management "booksmarts" and a handful of PM experience, I don't seem to have enough experience to get the sort of job I want.

Since "I read another PM book/blog today" doesn't really count, I was thinking I could find some free/open source software (FOSS) projects who are looking for/hiring project managers or developers and see if there was anything I could volunteer for.

Does anyone know of any FOSS employment sites where I might be able to find such projects? Something similar to careers.stackoverflow.com. I know I could just go to sourceforge/freshmeat and look around, but I was hoping to find some site that fills this need (and if any such sites exist, my google-fu is apparently VERY weak at finding them).

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2 Answers 2

FOSS project management is based on meritocracy and who makes things happen. Your best bet is to find a project you like, start submitting code and progressively work your way up.

In any case, I've never seen someone on a FOSS project spending all his time on Gantt charts or whatever- it's all about contributing to the code base, and if you're amongst the most coders that contribute the most and that are the most familiar with the code base, you'll get to make decisions down the road.

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True - I have experience with FOSS projects, so I understand the meritocracy, but I also understand that project management is a separate beast from coding. It's one thing for a project to say "We need to rewrite the backend" and another to actually plan out which areas need to be worked on (and in what order), and ensuring you have developers actively working on them as needed. –  MHarrison Jun 24 '11 at 22:17
@MHarrison It's absolutely true that FOSS projects also need tasks completed that normally fall under the category of 'Project Managment', but I'm aware of no FOSS project actively looking for a person to fill specifically and only that roll. I think the perception of it being a separate beast from coding is largely a paradigm of the corporate world, which doesn't hold as true for FOSS. And of course there's the whole "its my time" part, why should they let someone else decide what they do on their own time? –  Jeff Welling Jun 25 '11 at 12:33
@MHarris, thinking about it now though, you could check out OpenHatch for projects looking for developers. Become a part of a team and take the initiative. :) –  Jeff Welling Jun 25 '11 at 12:37
@Jeff: OpenHatch sounds a lot like what I was looking for. Thanks! –  MHarrison Jun 25 '11 at 19:21

I'd try one of the more structured projects, such as Mozilla, Gnome, Ubuntu, Debian, Gimp, KDE, etc., with core teams and are large enough to need structured project management and approach them. You might have to start out contributing as a developer, but if you have enough rep with them, you might be able to find yourself some PM stuff.

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