ITAV Community Case Study: Fedora


The Fedora program began their work with It Takes a Village (ITAV) in January 2022. Fedora 6.0 was released in June of 2021 and there wasn’t a large feature roadmap on the horizon, so program leadership decided to take the time to plan out a path forward.

The Fedora program team reached out to the ITAV Co-Directors to ask about using the ITAV Toolkit to provide some structure to the upcoming strategy work. The Fedora Governance chairs and program manager established clear timelines for how long they expected the work to take, set the expectations and participation guidelines so they could  accurately inform the individuals they would be inviting to contribute. The idea wasn’t to discourage participation, but to be clear and transparent about the commitment they were expecting up front.

ITAV Analysis Planning and Kickoff

To form the strategic planning sub-committee, the program team sent an open invitation to all of governance to participate. Respondents to that open invitation formed the basis of the planning committee. From there, the program team also made some targeted outreach to specific individuals within the community in hopes of bringing new and different voices to the table - such as representation from our sister communities (Samvera, Islandora, and OCFL), and contributors with deep knowledge of the Fedora technical stack.

The group came together with an ITAV Co-Director facilitating, and held an ITAV Kickoff Activity to level-set and identify facets of focus. The planning sub-committee evaluated the results of the phase analysis and decided to work on two facets - Resources and Community Engagement. The group self-selected into two smaller working groups. The goal and intention was for active participation in this work, so all sub-committee members had to pick a working group. No one was permitted to merely show up and observe. 

The program team decided on regular meeting schedules for both the smaller working-groups and the larger sub-committee. The smaller working groups would tackle tasks within their facet only, and the large group meeting was used to recap and report out. Once the work of the smaller groups was complete, they would create a report to present to governance with recommendations for next steps.

Facet Focus: Resources

As mentioned earlier, one of the facets chosen was resources, and the sub-committee came at this work with the understanding that it meant not only finances, but also people and skills. The goal was to evaluate the current membership-based funding model as well as explore new avenues for increasing available human resources. The two activities used to guide the work were Diversifying Income Streams and Adjusting Existing Revenue Streams.

The result of these activities was the creation of a landscape analysis of different open source programs and their funding models, as well as a community survey focused on gathering basic financial information from current member institutions. This survey ended up serving several purposes -  helping the program team to understand challenges and needs of members as it relates to paying for memberships, and the specifics of the processes involved at each institution.

ITAV Community Case Study: Fedora

The program team continues to work with the background data gathered in this group to help guide efforts in evaluating our funding model. The team gained a lot of useful insight into opportunities to connect with members at different times of year, and how to lower barriers to securing membership dollars.

Facet Focus: Community Engagement

The other facet Fedora looked at was Community Engagement. Here, the goals were to find new and better ways to engage with the existing community and to identify areas where we could improve Fedora’s reach and connections. The activity completed was called Identifying Stakeholder Gaps.

The program team was able to identify that they were already successful communicating with the people who were familiar with Fedora and who were already advocating for the program. The challenge was to find out where Fedora wasn’t - how to connect with the high-level professionals and decision-makers who were unfamiliar with Fedora, or who didn’t understand its importance. The program team needed to develop a plan to fill that educational gap.

The team also started gathering information on what they were “hearing” in the communities and tying it down to a unified message. Fedora hosted a summer open house with very strong attendance, and added open houses to their communications and outreach plan. They are also in the process of creating marketing materials aimed at bridging the education gap between stakeholders and users, and will roll that out in 2022 with the help of the membership communications team at Lyrasis.


The ITAV analysis work has been enlightening and helpful for Fedora. It gave the program team and leadership a very structured and organized way to approach the often overwhelming concept of “strategic planning.”

During this process, the community learned a lot about itself, the views of program participants, and where the community foresees the program going. One of the team’s biggest takeaways from the work was that what a program thinks they need isn’t always what they actually need. Many on the planning committee were sure that the only two facets that needed work were technology and resources. After completing the phase analysis and looking at the results of group prioritization exercises, it was clear that the community felt something different was needed. Some were surprised and skeptical at first, but once the work of digging into the ITAV activities began, participants began to see how this work would ultimately lead Fedora to a more sustainable place that would set the community up for success for the longer term.

The second thing the team realized is just how intertwined the facets are. Many of the action items that came out of the activity work could have been handled by either working-group, and much of the background work done (e.g. the member survey) provided information that both groups could also draw from. 

And finally, the team learned that things take time. Planning for your future sustainability isn’t an overnight process and some of the conversations this work brought up are still on-going. Change is challenging and when you’re working with the entire community’s best interest at stake, it is important to consider all options. So for Fedora, the strategic planning phase is complete, and there is solid leg work done, but there is still work ahead. The ITAV Toolkit was instrumental in helping the program get to the point of being able to say “here are the recommendations for next steps” in a structured and organized way.