Building Leadership in Open Source: A Free Guide

building leadership

The latest Open Source Guide for the Enterprise from The TODO Group provides practical advice for building leadership in open source projects and communities.

Contributing code is just one aspect of creating a successful open source project. The open source culture is fundamentally collaborative, and active involvement in shaping a project’s direction is equally important. The path toward leadership is not always straightforward, however, so the latest Open Source Guide for the Enterprise from The TODO Group provides practical advice for building leadership in open source projects and communities.  

Being a good leader and earning trust within a community takes time and effort, and this free guide discusses various aspects of leadership within a project, including matters of governance, compliance, and culture. Building Leadership in an Open Source Community, featuring contributions from Gil Yehuda of Oath and Guy Martin of Autodesk, looks at how decisions are made, how to attract talent, when to join vs. when to create an open source project, and it offers specific approaches to becoming a good leader in open source communities.

Leadership Mindset

According to the guide, the open source leadership mindset involves:

  • Influence, not control
  • Transparency as a means of crowd-sourcing solutions, not as exposure
  • Leading, not herding

Building leadership can happen at all levels — from managers to developers to volunteers. Developers, for example, are often highly motivated to contribute to open source projects that matter to them and to build their reputations within the community. According to the guide, “open source is so hotly in demand that developers actively seek opportunities to develop or hone their open source chops.”

Guy Martin, Director, Open at Autodesk, Autodesk, says that when interviewing developers, he is frequently asked how the company will help the developer build his or her own open source brand.

Increase Visibility

“Raising your own company’s visibility in its open source work can thus also help recruit developers. Some companies even offer open source training to add to the appeal. Presenting the company’s open source projects at conferences and contributing code in communities are the best ways to raise your company’s visibility. Asking your developers to network with other developers and invite them aboard also tends to work well,” the guide states.

Read the complete guide to Building Leadership in an Open Source Community online now. And, see the list of all Open Source Guides for the Enterprise to learn more.  The information contained in these guides is based on years of experience and best practices from industry leaders. They are developed by The TODO Group in collaboration with The Linux Foundation and the larger open source community.