12 ways to improve the effectiveness and impact of enterprise open source development
The Linux Foundation | 16 February 2023
In today's digital age, open source development has become a vital component of software development. With more and more organizations relying on open source software for their operations, it is essential to have an effective and impactful enterprise open source development strategy in place.
Here, we will discuss the key takeaways from the recently released Linux Foundation Research report, "A Road Map to Improve the Effectiveness and Impact of Enterprise Open Source Development," by Ibrahim Haddad, Ph.D., Executive Director of LF AI & Data and Pytorch Foundation.
Be Patient and Seek Out Influential Peers When Growing Your Domain Expertise
To develop a successful enterprise open source development strategy, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of your domain. This means knowing the technologies, methodologies, and practices relevant to your industry. Growing your domain expertise can take time, so it is essential to be patient and persistent. Seek out influential peers who can mentor and guide you in your journey. Their experience and knowledge can be invaluable in helping you develop a successful enterprise open source development strategy.
Practice and Encourage an Open and Collaborative Mindset When Implementing Open Source Infrastructure
Open source development thrives on collaboration and cooperation. Practicing and encouraging an open and collaborative mindset when implementing open source infrastructure is essential. This means being open to feedback and suggestions from other developers, contributing to open source projects, and sharing your expertise with the community. It also means fostering a culture of trust and respect within your organization, where developers feel comfortable sharing their ideas and working together to achieve common goals.
Adopt IT Infrastructure That Is Flexible and Supportive of Open Source Development
To support effective and impactful enterprise open source development, adopt an IT infrastructure that is flexible and supportive of open source development. This means having tools and systems that facilitate collaboration, code sharing, and project management. It also means having a robust and scalable IT infrastructure that can support the demands of open source development, including continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, testing frameworks, and version control systems.
Track Success Through Metrics That Are Designed Specifically for an Open Source Environment
To measure the success of your enterprise open source development strategy, it is essential to have metrics that are designed specifically for an open source environment. This means tracking metrics such as the number of contributions made to open source projects, the number of new developers that join your organization as a result of your open source initiatives, and the impact of your contributions on the broader open source community. These metrics can help you to identify areas for improvement and to measure the impact of your open source development strategy.
Follow a Lightweight and Tailored Approach to Source Code Contribution Approvals
When contributing to open source projects, following a lightweight and tailored approach to source code contribution approvals is essential. This means having clear guidelines and processes for code review and approval without creating unnecessary bureaucracy or slowing down the development process. It also means tailoring your approach to the specific needs of the open source project, taking into account factors such as the size of the project, the complexity of the code, and the level of risk involved.
Share Information Across Divisions and Foster Internal Collaborations for Successful Implementation of Innersource Practices
Innersource is applying open source methodologies and practices within an organization. To implement innersource practices successfully, sharing information across divisions and fostering internal collaborations is essential. This means breaking down silos within your organization and encouraging teams to work together to develop and contribute to open source projects. It also means having a culture of openness and transparency, where information is shared freely and openly across the organization.
Contribute Strategically to Projects Commonly Used Across Products and Services to Remain Essential, Justifiable, and Fundable
To ensure that your enterprise open source development strategy remains essential, justifiable, and fundable, it is important to contribute strategically to projects commonly used across products and services. This means focusing your efforts on open source projects with a broad user base that are critical to your organization's operations. By contributing to these projects, you can ensure that they remain relevant and up-to-date and establish your organization as a leader in the open source community.
Allocate Time for Open Source Developers to Meet Upstream Responsibilities, Especially If They Are Maintainers
Maintainers are the backbone of open source projects. They are responsible for reviewing code contributions, merging code changes, and ensuring the quality of the codebase. To support your open source developers in their upstream responsibilities, it is essential to allocate time for them to work on open source projects. This means allowing them to dedicate a portion of their workday to contributing to open source projects and supporting their participation in relevant events and discussions.
Partner with Product Teams on Upstream Code Development That Helps Reduce Their Technical Debt
Technical debt is a term used to describe the cost of maintaining and updating legacy code. It can significantly burden product teams, slowing development and reducing the quality of their work. Partnering with them on upstream code development is essential to help reduce technical debt and support your product teams. By contributing to open source projects relevant to your product teams, you can help them stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and reduce the burden of maintaining legacy code.
Develop Open Source Talent Internally and Encourage Involvement in Open Source from Developers Across the Organization
Developing open source talent internally is an excellent way to ensure that your organization has a pipeline of skilled developers who can contribute to open source projects. This means providing training and mentorship programs for your developers and encouraging them to participate in open source projects. It also means fostering a open source culture within your organization, where developers are encouraged to share their knowledge and expertise with the wider community.
Create a Mentorship Program to Support the Growth of Junior Developers and Increase the Quality and Quantity of Code Accepted in Open Source Projects
Mentorship programs can be a valuable tool for supporting the growth of junior developers and increasing the quality and quantity of code accepted in open source projects. By pairing junior developers with experienced mentors, you can help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to contribute to open source projects effectively. You can also provide guidance on best practices for code review and approval, ensuring that your contributions meet the standards of the open source community.
Participate in and Host Open Source Events to Build Developer Networks, Participate in Technical Discussions, and Increase Visibility
Open source events are an excellent way to build developer networks, participate in technical discussions, and increase visibility for your organization. By participating in relevant events and hosting your own events, you can connect with other developers in your industry and share your expertise with the wider community. You can also increase your visibility as an open source leader, building your reputation as an organization committed to open source development.
Effective and impactful enterprise open source development requires a deep understanding of your domain, an open and collaborative mindset, flexible IT infrastructure, tailored metrics, and streamlined code contribution approval processes. It also requires a commitment to innersource practices, strategic contributions to commonly used open source projects, and support for open source developers. By following these key takeaways, organizations can develop a successful enterprise open source development strategy that drives innovation, reduces costs, and establishes them as leaders in the open source community.
About the Author: Founded in 2021, Linux Foundation Research explores the growing scale of open source collaboration and provides insight into emerging technology trends, best practices, and the global impact of open source projects. Through leveraging project databases and networks and a commitment to best practices in quantitative and qualitative methodologies, Linux Foundation Research is creating the go-to library for open source insights for the benefit of organizations the world over.
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