see Sprints for a general overview of Debian sprints

How to organize a Debian development sprint

Sprints, or developer gatherings, have proven to be very effective in get important work done and strengthen the Debian community. While DebCamps held during DebConfs are the primary example of that, several other Debian sprints are held on a regular basis. Via generous donations by people who care about the Project, Debian can support sprints financially.

Sprints should be something like 2-3 days meetings of 10 developers or less, in an environment where they can focus on getting work done and having fun doing so. The sprints should include core people of some time, but possibly also new people to get fresh developers into the team and help them to find their way around. It is encouraged to invite 1-2 new people at each sprint.

Debian, within the limit of available resources, tries hard to cover travel and accommodation costs for those who have no other means to cover the costs. Participating in developer sprints should be no personal financial burden to any of the participants. Usually, participants are expected to cover food costs by themselves, although exceptions might be considered. For all expenses the motivation should be to provide a productive and fun environment, rather than giving any special benefits.

All sprints need to have a person who acts as responsible organizer and contact person. If possible this person should be supported by one or two co-organizers. The responsibility of the organizer is to: coordinate the sprint, find a suitable place and time to hold the sprint, take care of invitee lists and agenda, and interact with Debian for communication and financial support (usually via the debian-sprints mailing list). Please also announce your sprint to the Debian Events Team for inclusion in the Events pages.

It is recommended to partner with other organizations or companies to conduct the sprints. Additional per-sprint sponsorship or support is very welcome. This can for example happen through providing rooms, sending people, taking over costs, or similar means. Direct financial support should go through Debian, though, since this is usually more efficient than each sprint dealing with sponsoring separately.

After the sprints, a report should be written and sent to the most relevant mailing list, the Debian Events Team and possibly PlanetDebian.

If you want to have a developer sprint just say so by posting to debian-sprints. Together, we will then sort out what needs to be done, what information is required and how to make the meeting happen.

If you want to help with the organization of developer sprints, just saying so by posting an introductory mail to debian-sprints.


Before the sprint

  1. decide on a topic and the goal of the sprint
  2. get a date (usually a weekend)
  3. get a list of participants (usually 10 or less)
  4. get a location (check the list of Debian-friendly venues or propose a new one)

  5. estimate travel costs
  6. send the data to debian-sprints for review and approval by the DPL (who should lurk there). Cc leader@ and treasurer@ and one of the trusted organisations, as per the reimbursement process overview.

  7. when it's approved, hurry up and book travel tickets, as prices usually increase over time
  8. prepare a wiki page named wiki.d.o/Sprints/YYYY/Name (e.g. wiki.d.o/Sprints/2010/RockingTeam), you would usually want to start from SprintTemplate

  9. announce the sprint and tentative agenda to the relevant mailing list, the Debian Events Team for inclusion in the Events pages and debian-project, soliciting inputs from interested people who cannot participate

During the sprint

  1. hack, have fun
  2. blog/microblog about the sprint, if you are into it
  3. keep minutes, prepare reports

After the sprint

  1. send the sprint report to the relevant mailing list, the Debian Events Team as well as debian-project, including the following information:

    • date / venue
    • participants
    • summary of what has been achieved
    • total amount that will be requested to each trusted organization

  2. help to prepare a nice blog post about the event without all the 'geeky' details. More information at Teams/Publicity/

  3. complete the wiki page with a link to the report and the blog post
  4. request reimbursement (in case of doubt, ask debian-sprints, they'll be able to help)


Please contact the debian-sprints for comments about the sprint program.



Thanks to KDE e.V. and in particular to Cornelius Schumacher and Alexandra Leisse for sharing their experience (and documentation!) on the KDE e.V. sprint program.