Today I was browsing through my usual RSS feeds and I ran into this one. It is a presentation about "How To Herd Cats and Influence People". Jono is right on the money: the community is the key to keep a project alive. In fact he is even righter when he mentions that the process should be defined, not a peace of bureaucracy that no one wants to follow, but a simply defined.
I'm saying this because I'm trying to contribute to Rhythmbox and I'm having difficulties on how should I make things. You see, when I involve myself in a project I like to respect the already made decisions. For instance: I don't want to start immediately by questioning the chosen architecture. The problem is that if I don't understand the architecture it will be difficult to contribute.
What's there left to do? Well, I'll choose one implementation, the one that is quicker and that doesn't seem to break the application's architecture and move ahead; submit the patch and wait for feedback. I hope that the feedback contains some sort of guidance if they don't like the solution I'll propose.