🔨 Something we’ve been working on
We’ve been working on a model of open source software leadership phases that we’re excited to share with you.
We were motivated to write this up because we found that open source software project leaders often encounter specific challenges in sustaining their impact and growing their communities, yet they don’t have enough support in overcoming them. We’re drawing here on our years of research and leadership experience in the open science space, leaning particularly on the conversations we’ve had with leaders of OSS projects.
We explain the model further in this blog post. Here’s a summary; as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts - hit reply!
This Model of Open Source Software Leadership Phases suggests that scientists working in open source may choose to "go big" or “stay small.” Those who go big may struggle with building and sustaining communities as well as the challenges of administration. They become distracted, frustrated, and even regretful when confronted with the work of community building, governance, and scaling, especially when it draws them away from the scientific work that is central to their careers.
Those who "stay small" may slow down their reach and the impact of their work, which may also discourage a community that yearns to be involved more deeply and ultimately limit the scientific potential of the software
Software developers who become community leaders often stumble into scaling, community, and outreach decisions without clear perspectives, support structures or advice on how to make decisions that align to their goals. Few organizations are able to document and analyze the needs of software project leadership and turn these insights into shared resources and supporting structures that help leaders grow in their own abilities.
The goal of this model is to create a space for discussing some of the challenges in a more open way so that we can talk through what the solutions might look like.
Have you seen, or been part of, an open source organization staying small or going big? What are the challenges you saw?
Oblique Thinking Hour
We’re putting the OTH on hold for the next two months as many are busy during July and August. Look for us to come back in September. In the meantime we’ll be working on an asynchronous OTH where we ask for your input and involvement via a few prompting questions. In our September session, we’ll be deep-diving into this content. Have a great time in the busy months of July and August!