Transforming Your Company with Open Source
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Transforming Your Company with Open Source



How do you get past incremental change to real transformation with open source? Most conventional advice focuses on just one dimension at a time: people, process, business or technology. To get ...

How do you get past incremental change to real transformation with open source? Most conventional advice focuses on just one dimension at a time: people, process, business or technology. To get breakthrough results, you need to view these dimensions as part of an integrated whole, and consciously address two or more of them simultaneously. Using examples from Enterprise IT experience, we’ll explore how you can tap your organization’s strengths in a variety of ways to achieve these goals.



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  • Einstein: Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them. Transformation is what takes you to the next level.
  • Covey: Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greater success. Dependent employees need guidance for major work tasks; independent employees can figure out what they need to know, but they might not share that knowledge; interdependent employees, in addition to their self-sufficiency, are constantly learning from and teaching their network of peers. We as open source practitioners intuitively understand the value of interdependence
  • Not a silver bullet – needs followup and environmental support
  • Lock-in: Hitting a brick wall because the product is closed Can develop a kneejerk reaction to call and complain May give up before trying
  • With open source, nothing stands in the way of their own problem-solving skills: can browse through the code and see if something catches their eye can invoke a debugger and see what might be happening in real-time can run third-party analysis software on it or undertake a detailed review themselves if they have the time and inclination. Granular tradeoffs – it's no longer a zero-sum game. In addition to money from others, they can now use their skills to get what they want. At the independent stage, IT organizations learn to control their own destiny.
  • Developing trust with the project team can encourage them to make further contributions, with the immediate payoff of support and the longer-term reward of getting their most important features added. Gain a deeper understanding – What code gets accepted, vs what gets rejected. Linux is a good example. This is an effective counterweight against a tendency in many IT organizations to rush out incomplete solutions that end up causing more problems over time. IT developers learn to think more globally, putting themselves in the shoes of others who share similar challenges albeit in vastly different environments.
  • Look at how open source maps into each of these areas Note the contrasting elements, particularly between the diagonally-opposite dimensions. This can create contention, but can also enable transformational solutions. Conventional wisdom usually focuses on only one of these areas, and ignores others
  • Interlocking pieces, mutual dependence. Can suggest things where pieces are inserting themselves where they don't belong, or otherwise have developed unnecessary inadequacies. Can suggest lose/win or win/lose, rather than win/win interdependence Suggests complexity, but nothing really emergent. If you're more interested in one area, you might think about maximizing independence there at the cost of other areas
  • Contrast that with this model where every component does its job, and has clean relationships (interfaces) with other components (the Unix/Linux way!). In addition, each component carves out a space where it recognizes some things that it doesn't know. Avoids trying to solve problems ineffectively. When all components are put together, that space gets filled with the interdependent gold circle. Interdependence is an emergent property
  • Two dimensions can create enough of a space to suggest where the other two can fit in to complete the circle This can work for people in a variety of roles, in different parts of the organization. Some might start with People and Technology, Others Business and Technology, People and Process, etc. Not as much rigor in the remaining two areas, but carve out that space to invite them. Don't take on too much at once. Enterprise 2.0 as an example
  • People have different areas of strengths, which they continue to develop as they also develop sufficient interdependent awareness in all four areas Interdependent awareness allows people to recognize complementary strengths in others
  • Our community sometimes engages in a race to the bottom. Some advocates talk about the values and ethics of open source (People dimension), and are cynical of commercial motivations. Some commercial folks want to boil everything down to revenue/cost (Business dimension) and excise personal motivations Either side could benefit from developing interdependent awareness – invites developing trust in areas of each other's strengths Carving out that space includes not overreaching with criticism, and using constructive questions/suggestions (even if they are simple ones) People => understand how ideas can advance business strategy and customer value Business => develop business strategy that taps people's motivations Openness helps – transparency, communication, etc

Transforming Your Company with Open Source Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Kartik Subbarao Open Systems Consultant [email_address] Transforming Your Company with Open Source
  • 2. Organizational Transformation
    • Allows people to see things in fundamentally new ways
    • 3. Enables people to solve problems and capitalize on opportunities that could not even be considered before
    • 4. Driven by personal transformation
  • 5. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • 6. Stephen Covey's Maturity Continuum
  • 7. Open Source Can Develop Interdependent Capability
    • Provides experiential learning opportunities in day to day work that develop thinking and behavior
    • 8. Is not a silver bullet and should not be used that way
    • 9. Needs baseline skills, access to experts and sufficient freedom to experiment
    • 10. Reference:
  • 11. Dependent IT
    • Example: customer of a proprietary vendor
    • 12. Transactional relationship centered around licensing and support fees. Not much other influence over a vendor's product road map.
    • 13. Even if money talks, if it's the only thing that can talk, the conversation becomes significantly constrained.
    • 14. Risks falling into the money trap themselves, reducing their position to a zero sum game, competing for scarce internal funding
    • 15. Vendor lock-in reinforces a dependency mindset
  • 16. Independent IT
    • Example: open source consumer
    • 17. Nothing stands in the way of their technical skills. Can troubleshoot, enhance, and customize as much as they want
    • 18. No licensing fees, can run unlimited software instances. Especially valuable in cloud environments.
    • 19. Can choose to contract where they have skill gaps, and can gauge the competence of those providers
    • 20. Can make granular tradeoffs between buying, integrating and building
  • 21. Interdependent IT
    • Example: open source contributor
    • 22. Optimizes customization and standardization
    • 23. Eye-opening experience when code is further enhanced by the community – they realize how much more they can accomplish through collaboration than they can on their own
    • 24. Can bring to bear the capabilities of an entire ecosystem to solve their employer's problems
    • 25. Gains a deeper understanding and appreciation for open architectures and standards
    • 26. Experiments to determine where they want to participate in different roles: Customer, Peer, Leader
  • 27. Four Dimensions of Companies People Technology Business Process Enabling Possibilities Creating/Designing Products and Services Invention and Innovation Productivity Tools Platforms Managing Realities Operations Quality Governance Organizational Structure Talent and Skills Organizational Knowledge and Wisdom Social Networks Communities of Practice Values and Ethics Assets, Liabilities and Equity Revenues and Costs Sales and Marketing Customer Value Strategy and Objectives
  • 28. Interdependence: Incomplete Representation
  • 29. Interdependence: Better Representation
  • 30. Start With Two Dimensions
    • The first two suggest where the other two can go
    • 31. Can pick any two dimensions, based on skill/role
    • 32. Example: People and Technology
  • 33. Interdependent Capability
  • 34. Highest Common Vision vs Lowest Common Denominator
    • Pitting one dimension against the other leads to the lowest common denominator and win/lose
    • 35. Interdependent awareness develops trust in areas outside one's expertise
    • 36. Create space for others to speak confidently from their areas of strength, and confidently represent your own areas of strength
    • 37. The highest common vision is a synthesis of interdependent thinking
    • 38. Remember – you don't have to be good at everything
  • 39. Carl Jung's Personality Theory
    • Source of Myers-Briggs types (e.g. ENTP, ISFP, INFJ, ESTJ, etc)
    • 40. Complementary and orthogonal functions that mediate our experience with the world
    • 41. Jung's development model – we develop a preferred function, then an auxiliary, then others, expanding our worldview over time
    • 42. Intriguing parallels to the four dimensions of companies
    Intuition (N) Thinking (T) Sensing (S) Feeling (F)
  • 43. Employee and Company Brands
    • Successful open source contributors gain respect with fellow users/developers, which translates into leadership and influence
    • 44. Their personal brands and their employer's brand increase both in value and in affinity with each other
    • 45. Employees get public recognition for their efforts, and are simultaneously incented to continue to be affiliated with their employer's brand
  • 46. Outside Innovation/Exonovation
    • Open source experts develop strong collaborative networks all over the world
    • 47. They identify relationships with customers, partners and others that can be transformed from largely trasactional into ones of deeper mutual benefit
    • 48. They develop insights into how social software works best, and can shape an effective social media strategy
    • 49. References:
  • 50. Assessment (work in progress)
    • Developing a model (will be freely available)
    • 51. Assess Current State, Capability, Environment for Openness across People, Process, Technology, Business, with attention to Interdependence
    • 52. Low Capability and Low Environment => low potential
    • 53. Low/High Capability and High/Low Environment => identify potential and develop it
  • 54. Sample Question Areas
    • People
      • Vibrancy of internal communities of practice
    • Process
      • Scalability to complex and simple levels
    • Technology
      • Architectural integration of Open Standards
    • Business
      • Range of customer/partner value propositions