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Why not join the sprints this year at PyCon?

A guest post by Naomi Ceder, one of our 2016 Sprint Coordinators.

Sprinting has always been one of the hidden gems of PyCon, a part of every PyCon from the beginning, back in 2003. Hundreds of programmers stay one or more extra days after the conference to collaborate on open source projects large and small. The people who’ve done it treasure the experience. Not only do the projects that participate benefit from fresh eyes and ideas, but the sprinters usually find that they gain enormous insights into a particular problem or library, into the Python language, and even into coding in general. This year will be no exception, with many established projects sprinting and new projects joining.

Given how cool sprinting is, many of us have been puzzled that more people don’t join the PyCon sprints. Why could that be? Well, we know that everyone has their own reasons behind what they choose to attend, but in case any of the following apply, we wanted clear a few things up.

Reasons you might not be sprinting at Pycon (that totally should not stop you)

  • I’m not experienced enough.

    We’ve got that covered! We understand that not everyone has sprint experience, but we can help you, in several ways:
    • We’ll again be holding an “Intro to Sprinting” workshop on Sunday night before the sprints start. Shauna Gordon-McKeon, with several volunteers from the Python community, will present this session to help bring you up to speed on what to expect while sprinting, how to participate, as well as what projects are particularly newcomer friendly. Once we’re done, groups will organize to go out to dinner, so you can connect with your fellow first time sprinters and some people from the sprints. If you’re interested in this workshop, please visit our registration page to let us know (For information on current year sprints, see https://us.pycon.org/).
    • Well identify the sprints that are most newcomer-friendly, and give those sprint leaders whatever support we can to help them better welcome newcomers to their projects.
    • Finally, well have a help table, to give you any last minute directions or help with the sprints you might need, from installing and using common tools to suggestions on how to get the most out sprinting or just talking about how it’s going.
  • I don’t know what I’d sprint on.

    Well, that's understandable — there will be a lot of interesting projects sprinting, so deciding is never easy. However, we have help there, too. In the lead-up to PyCon, many of the sprints will be listed on the PyCon site, so you can check them out in advance. Then, at PyCon one of the last events at the main conference will be a chance for sprint organizers to present their sprints. And, as mentioned above, we’ll identify sprints that are particularly beginner friendly.
  • I don’t know anyone who’s sprinting.

    That may be true (although you’d be surprised). But the cool thing about the sprints is that by lunch time of the first day you will know people sprinting. Project maintainers, people whose talks you’ve seen, people who you’ve only met online. And you’ll be working alongside them. What a great way to connect with some new people in the Python community!
  • I don’t know how to register for the sprints. Isn’t it a hassle?

    That’s why we’re here. You don’t need to change your registration to join the sprints. There’s no additional registration fee, and you even get lunch. You do need to cover the additional lodging and other meals, but that’s it.

    If you want to sprint, the first thing to do would be to make sure you have a place to stay for the extra days. If you’ve booked a room through the PyCon registration system, you'll need to contact the registration team at pycon2016@cteusa.com as soon as possible to request the extra nights. The sprinting itself (along with lunch every day) is free, so your only expenses are your room and other meals.

    Once you have that taken care of (and booked the right flights, of course), the registration form for the Intro to Sprinting tutorial is here (For information on current year sprints, see https://us.pycon.org/). This is also free, so please sign up and join us.

Veteran Sprinters also welcome!


But you already knew that. If you’ve sprinted before the odds are you know how awesome it is. Not to worry, we didn’t forget you! We do want to keep the sprints fresh, and to keep improving them for veterans as well as newcomers. To do that we’ll be making a few additions and tweaks.

So plan to sprint!


You can check out the projects currently planning to sprint at the PyCon Sprints page and if you’re interested in the sprinting workshop just visit the registration form and sign up (For information on current year sprints, see https://us.pycon.org/). And get ready for some serious sprinting at PyCon!


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The PyCon Sprints are a time set aside for you and the developers of your favorite tools to work TOGETHER to make those tools better: fix bugs, add features, and improve documentation.

It is also a place for you to invite others to work on your project.

There are a number of initiatives at PyCon every year to help ensure that the Sprints go off without a hitch.

Sat: Mentored Sprints (New this year, registration required, currently sold out)
Sun: Sprint Leader presentations/project descriptions
Sun: "Intro to Sprints" workshop
Mon-Thu: the Sprints!

What can you expect at each of these events?

Mentored Sprints (Saturday): These are new this year and are a chance for attendees from groups traditionally underrepresented in the open source community to have hands-on support in a welcoming environment during their open source journey. While …