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Hoodies and Blazers: Diversity and Cohesion in OpenStack


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Why is diversity important in a community, team or organization? What’s the point? There have been several studies done on this and the result is always the same - when you have diversity, companies’ do better and so does the bottom line.

When I was at NASA, while we were working on what would later become OpenStack, we were also working for the Human Research Program (HRP). The HRP does a lot of studies on team dynamics and cohesion, specifically, for the International Space Station. After all, if you stick a bunch of very diverse people (of different ages, genders, languages and skillsets) in a small metal tube and they cant figure out how to get along, someone will die.

The reality is, however, that if you don’t set up the conditions for success, diversity can create barriers, which does more harm then good. A company or community that successfully integrates diversity does better.

View slides or read my blog on this topic at hoodies-blazers-together-at-last/.

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Hoodies and Blazers: Diversity and Cohesion in OpenStack

  1. 1. Hoodies and Blazers Diversity and Cohesion in OpenStack Presented by Joshua McKenty and Everett Toews
  2. 2. Everett Toews @everett_toews Rackspace (RAX) Developer Advocate (Wears a hoodie)
  3. 3. Joshua McKenty @jmckenty Piston Cloud Co-founder / CTO (Wears a blazer)
  4. 4. Why diversity?
  5. 5. "When Fortune-500 companies were ranked by the number of women directors on their boards, those in the highest quartile in 2009 reported a 42% greater return on sales and a 53% higher return on equity than the rest."
  6. 6. OpenStack: Deliberate Diversity •  First open source community to recognize non-technical contributions •  Strong commitment to maintain *one* community, through a single summit •  Regional, commercial, cultural, size, age, gender, language… and mindset.
  7. 7. "...diversity can in theory be very beneficial to team performance, particularly when innovation is the goal. However, to get the benefits of diversity, the team members must work well together… …diversity, absent explicit conditions to engender collaboration, actually limits the exchange of ideas among team members."
  8. 8. Cohesion
  9. 9. Social Cohesion Reflects the degree to which members of a team like each other and enjoy each other's company.
  10. 10. Task Cohesion: The degree to which members of a group work together to achieve common goals.
  11. 11. Winning comes from… ? Social Cohesion: •  Reflects the degree to which members of a team like each other and enjoy each other's company. Task Cohesion: •  The degree to which members of a group work together to achieve common goals.
  12. 12. Why now? (Some thoughts on the collapse of the Mongol Empire)
  13. 13. Drinking is no longer enough.
  14. 14. Intermission: Chickens and Pigs…
  15. 15. “You’re involved… but I’m committed.”
  16. 16. OpenStack: Bacon-wrapped Chicken Dinner.
  17. 17. Common Barriers to Group Cohesion •  •  •  •  •  •  Clash of personalities in the group Conflict of task or social roles among members Breakdown in communication One or more members struggling for power Frequent turnover of group members Disagreement on group goals and objectives
  18. 18. Solution: Understanding each other
  19. 19. The “Hoodie” •  Maker Time •  Asynchronous communication •  Inside-out view
  20. 20. The “Blazer” •  Manager Time •  Synchronous communication •  Outside-in view
  21. 21. Working together
  22. 22. The difference between a tolerable programmer and a great programmer is not how many programming languages they know, and it's not whether they prefer Python or Java. It's whether they can communicate their ideas. - Joel Spolsky
  23. 23. The lower the rank of managers, the more they know about fewer things. The higher the rank of managers, the less they know about many things. - Russell Ackoff
  24. 24. But there’s one more thing…
  25. 25. To produce the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform.
  26. 26. “There is no them; there's only us.” - Bill Clinton
  27. 27. To learn more about OpenStack, and how Piston is accelerating the adoption of cloud for DevOps visit: hoodies-blazers-together-at-last/