How important is leadership for evolving open source projects and communities? According to the most recent Open Source Guide for the Enterprise from The Linux Foundation and the TODO Group, building leadership in the community is key to establishing trust, enabling collaboration, and fostering the cultural understanding required to be effective in open source.
The new Building Leadership in an Open Source Community guide provides practical advice that can help organizations build leadership and influence within open source projects.
“Contributing code is just one aspect of creating a successful open source project,” says this Linux Foundation article introducing the latest guide. “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.”
Indeed, the role of leadership in open source is often misunderstood, precisely because open source projects and communities are often structured to encourage highly distributed contribution models. Their distributed structure can obscure the need for central leaders who set goals and measure progress.
In addition to the new guide, previous Open Source Guides for Enterprise explore related aspects of open source leadership. Here are some good ones to investigate:
- Creating an Open Source Program. Open source program offices are emerging as critical to providing good leadership, and this free guide delves into how they can become designated places where open source is supported, nurtured, shared, explained, and grown inside a company.
- Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success. Good leaders of all types are skilled at measuring progress, and they stay on top of the right tools for working with metrics and project management. This free guide lays out a clear path for open source leaders to measure progress and set goals.
- Recruiting Open Source Developers. Guy Martin, Director, Open at Autodesk, has noted that when interviewing developers, he is frequently asked how the company will help the developer build his or her own open source brand. Today, leadership calls for strategically appealing to developers and this free guide includes many best practices.
- Improving Your Open Source Development Impact also delves into these topics. It examines various ways organizations can improve their internal development processes and prepare to contribute to open source projects.
Building Leadership in an Open Source Community, which features 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.
“Companies often go through a phase of thinking ‘Oh, well, we’re huge. Why can’t we pound our fist on the table and just make the community do what we want?’ They soon come to realize that tactic won’t work,” writes Martin, in the guide. “They come to understand that the only way to gain leadership is to earn the role within the community. And the only way to do that is to gain credibility and make contributions.”