You have a software product or service, you innovate, you leverage the power of open source for rapid feature growth, compelling economics, and wider industry adoption. Perhaps you are among the many other companies with well above 50% open source in your code base, with open source software as a key pillar in your corporate strategy? But what about your open source practices, are you really making the most of your investments?
To make 2019 the year of the leapfrog, here is our list of open source practices for you and your company to adopt to help you grow your impact in open source projects and communities:
- Hire key developers and maintainers from the project’s community to help support your development priorities in the projects that you consider critical to your products and services.
- Ensure alignment between the personal interests of your open source developers and your corporate interests. It is very hard to motivate developers to work on a given project when their personal interests don’t meet with corporate interests. Alignment on interests will have a very positive outcome.
- Allow your open source developers to have dedicated time for their upstream development and contribution, especially if they are a maintainers with responsibilities towards open source projects that extend beyond their own personal contributions.
- Support your existing junior developers with a mentorship program that pairs them with experienced open source developers who supervise their work, support them with code reviews, and advise them before they push code upstream.
- To attract and retain open source talent, allow a work-from-home policy. In the open source world, having such a policy is almost mandatory because open source developers are located all over the world, and this policy is often key to hire them.
- It’s impossible for any company to hire all the senior and most experienced open source developers. Therefore, companies need to increase the competence of their current developers via technical training and non-technical training that address the open source development model and the basic concepts of open source legal compliance.
- Companies can support their open source developers by allowing them to attend, participate and speak in open source conferences and events. Such participations help them connect at a personal level with their peers, build relationships, have face to face social interactions, and participate in technical discussions that guide the project direction.
- Provide an IT infrastructure that allows open source developers to work and collaborate with external projects and communities without any challenges.
- Track the source contributions to all open source projects to evaluate performance, set expectations, and even compare the performance of your company to other companies involved in the same project.
- Focus your open source contributions to projects that directly benefit your products and services, provide value, and show clear return on investment.
- Create collaboration projects with other teams within your company that use or contribute to the same open source projects as your team. These collaborations can take one or more of many forms and have the goal of unifying efforts, eliminating redundancies and focusing the resources on critical set of problems that need to be solved.
- Invest in improving your open source compliance practices. That includes your policies and processes, guidelines, training and tooling to enable automation and creating efficiencies.