Mentored Sprints

A newcomerโ€™s introduction to contributing to an open-source project

๐ŸŽ‰โœจ The mentored sprints for diverse community members are back for PyCon US 2021โœจ๐ŸŽ‰

This year's Mentored Sprints will be run online through Zoom and Discord! ๐Ÿ’ป

๐Ÿ—’๏ธ To participate: sign in to participate on your dashboard. Registration will launch in early April.

๐Ÿ“ Apply to be a mentor

โœจ Volunteer for the Git Helpdesk (4 volunteers needed): Help new contributors with git/GitHub, such as cloning repo, creating branch, committing, resolving merge conflicts. Sign up using the mentor form.

About the sprints

Open source projects such as Python and its multiple stacks (web, scientific, etc.) are nothing but a collaborative effort from many community members. It is the constant involvement of the numerous maintainers, contributors, and users that make open-source software sustainable and keeps the community as a whole going.

Walking the path from user to collaborator, and thus contributing to an open-source project, can sometimes be intimidating especially for newcomers. From a technical perspective, interacting with web-based hosting services (such as GitHub, GitLab, etc.), branching and opening pull requests can be overwhelming if these are not everyday actions of your workflow. The correctness of the code and potential bugs are other common obstacles and fears any newcomer might face. Not to mention the time and frustration accumulated over the task of finding a 'beginner-friendly' issue to work on.

We also recognize that some groups are traditionally underrepresented in the open-source community, and we would like to support them in their open-source path.
For these reasons, we are running for the second time the PyCon mentored sprints for individuals from underrepresented groups willing to start contributing to Python projects. This event will provide a supportive, friendly, and safe environment for all the attendees and partner open source projects.

To achieve this goal, we are seeking to work with several Python projects and their maintainers interested in providing mentorship
to these individuals. In return, we will provide guidance and advice on how to prepare the projects for the day and to better serve a diverse range of contributors.

Why do we need a mentored sprint when we already run sprints within PyCon?

The PyCon sprints certainly offer an excellent opportunity to get contributors and developers together and to squash some bugs in a relatively short time. However, with this happening at the end of the event many people, particularly less experienced developers, are not able to stay around for this additional time, or cannot easily justify attending an event for an extra day or two. Also, a good amount of the people that attend the sprints are often comfortable doing so and in many cases have made multiple contributions to open source before or are, in fact, developers or maintainers of open source projects.

This mentored sprint focuses on providing less experienced developers with a supportive environment in which they can learn, collaborate, expand their network, and celebrate their victories at the end of it.

Furthermore, it serves as an excellent opportunity for many open source projects to get some practical advice around inclusion and how to serve a global and diverse pool of contributors. And perhaps establish longer-term mentor-mentee or contributor relationships.

What projects will you be sprinting on?

PyCon US is the biggest Python conference organized every year, thousands of developers, teachers, maintainers, and aficionados attend the event every year. As such it provides a unique opportunity to bring together creators, maintainers, and users for a few days.

By running similar events in smaller conferences, we have learned that the attendees (and projects) get much more out of it by having maintainers, organizers, and attendees working together. This way, the maintainers of a particular package can provide directed, effective and in-person mentoring to a group of individuals, and the attendees feel more confident and usually leave with a higher sense of accomplishment.

Getting involved

Open Source projects

The call for applications for projects close on the 14th of May 2021 and we encourage maintainers and developers of any package attending PyCon to participate in this mentored sprint.

Please use the Project and Mentor signup form to take part in the sprint.

Contributors - people sprinting on the day

The call for contributors (individuals willing to participate in the sprint) will remain open until the day before the event and we encourage anyone interested to attend.
If you are wondering if this event is for you: it definitely is, and we would love to have you taking part in this sprint.

To participate, make sure to sign in when you register for PyCon.

When is the mentored sprint?

This mentored sprint will take place online starting on May 15th at 10 am UTC and continuing into the 16th of May, depending on your time zone.

View the time slot for the Americas, EMEA and for APAC sprints.

Getting in touch

If you would like to contact the organizers for any business related to the mentored sprints, please send an email to
Or follow @MentoredSprints on Twitter!

Projects that took part in 2020

We want to thank the source maintainers and mentors who signed up and participating in the 2020 mentored sprint! This would not have been possible without you.

About the organisers

  • Tania Allard. Tania is a Co-Director at Quansight Labs focusing on Machine Learning, scientific computing, research and open source. She is also the founder and organiser of PyLadies NorthWest UK and contributor to and maintainer of several open-source projects.
  • Cheuk Ting Ho. Cheuk is a Developer advocate at Terminus DB and one of the co-organisers of AI Club for Gender Minorities and Python Sprints in London.
  • Lais Carvalho is a Developer Advocate for OpenTeams, a Python geek and open source enthusiast. Co-organiser of Python Ireland and other half of Mid Meet Py.
  • Zac Hatfield-Dodds. Zac is a cybernetics and computer science researcher at the Australian National University, and an enthusiastic open source community member and developer. What remains of his free time is usually spent reading books, savouring chocolate, and camping in the bush.