Meeting conducted from 12:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m. at Red Hat in Raleigh, North Carolina. See photos from Laura Hilliger.
This document outlines a proposed working session of the Open Organization Ambassadors at Opensource.com. The session will occur as a pre-conference seminar prior to the annual All Things Open event, to be held this coming October in Raleigh, North Carolina.
More specifically, the pre-conference session brings together interested members of the Open Organization community in order to discuss:
- the purpose of our ambassador community and articulate a shared vision for it (why we exist, what we aim to do, how we move forward, etc.)
- the possibility of creating a new series of resources the community might produce for various potential movement-building applications (publication of relevant ideas and debates about the “translation” of open source thinking to other domains, tools/frameworks for management consulting efforts related to open organizational design, materials for open-related training, etc.)
- the organization and alignment of our community, with specific attention to infrastructural considerations (location of future resources, branding issues, technical constraints, etc.)
Background (from Brook Manville)
Recent writing on “open organizations” tends not only to be fractured and disparate, but also focuses heavily on technology companies based in the United States. The movement could certainly benefit from more intentional and concerted collection of open organization cases, a coordinated conceptual framework, and a common lexicon, so open organizational thinking can find wider appeal and broader purchase in new industries. Open organization thinking stands to make significant contributions to existing industries and domains; however, lexical and conceptual barriers currently inhibit it.
This working session of the Open Organization Ambassadors at Opensource.com will convene several members of the open organization community for conversation about the practicality (and appeal) of several new community resources and initiatives, including:
- A case example database or knowledge library, a repository of stories about companies and organizations that appear to be operating as “open” (or believe they are)
- An open organization conceptual framework, something that abstracts from specific cases the fundamental components and/or phases of an open source project or process and serves as a model (or set of instructions) for opening any project, product, or process
- An open organization lexicon, a living, electronic document that translates open source jargon for non-technical readers and practitioners attempting to make sense of the theory’s inescapable roots in open source software communities
- An open organization interview protocol, a series of questions ambassadors and other community members can use to interview contacts who are working to work and lead more openly (answers the protocol generates across multiple interviews should aid development of the framework, below)
11:30: Meet in lobby of Red Hat Tower
11:45: Lunch (provided)
13:00: Introductions and community visioning
13:45: Issue analysis and materials review
14:45: Break, convene for meeting with Jim Whitehurst
15:00: Meeting with Jim Whitehurst
16:00: Reassemble in workshop location
16:15: Debrief and future planning
17:30: Workshop end, break for dinner preparation
18:00: Dinner with open source community
Detailed agenda (and guiding questions)
Introductions and community visioning (Laura + Bryan to lead)
What is our vision for the Open Organization Ambassadors? Our mission? Our purpose?
What do we want to do today?
What do you want this community to help you with?
What can you help the community with?
What outcomes of the group’s activities would we each deem most valuable and beneficial?
What is the purpose of this meeting? What do we hope to accomplish today? What does a successful workshop session look like?
Issue analysis and exploration (Brooke + Bryan to lead)
- What questions drive our work?
- What principles are most pertinent and endemic to the “open organization” concept?
- What issues or problems continue to trouble, vex, or compel us to write and explore?
- Can you group and/or thematize our questions and focal points into broader topic areas?
- How can we iterate on already-existing resources to make them more useful (or: What do we need to abandon or rethink?)
- What gaps or spaces in our existing offerings can we fill with valuable resources that will help explore these issues?
Meeting with Jim Whitehurst
- What would we like to ask Jim about the challenges/questions he faced in the past year?
- We will have about five minutes to brief Jim on our discussion(s)
Debrief and future planning
- What key insights/takeaways have we gleaned from our time with Jim?
- What are our collective goals moving forward?
- What projects need our immediate attention?
- Do any of the existing resources, or the new resources outlined above (from Brook) sound appealing and/or valuable?
- What goals/deliverables should we aim to produce, and according to what timeline?
- What are our respective roles in these projects?
- What are our next steps?
(Let’s populate this section with our prompts, notes, talking points, and suggestions for discussion. Please consider placing your name at the beginning of each bullet so we can trace the source of each suggestion.)
- Bryan: When we launched the ambassadors program in July 2015, we had precisely 0 ambassadors in the program. And we wrote this description of and vision for the program: “The Open Organization Ambassadors Program identifies and spotlights management thought-leaders and members of the Opensource.com community who are exceptionally engaged in discussions regarding the management and leadership philosophy Jim Whitehurst outlines in his book, The Open Organization. […] Ambassadors will form a community of like-minded thinkers and practitioners who explore ways open source principles apply to (and ultimately reshape) management and leadership practices.” Is this still appropriate? How can we refine it?
Issue analysis and exploration
- Chad: Is it too early to start talking about an appraisal or certification program for open organizations? We’ve got the ODF as a starting point. I’m thinking of CMMI and B Corps as examples in nearby domains, as well as the Center for Open Science’s TOP guidelines. This would not be a binary “are you open, yes/no,” but rather a scale of openness on which organizations can decide for themselves where they want to be. The end game is using this in decision making, “We only accept bids from companies at or above openness level 4.” DoD does this with CMMI.
- Bryan: Companion volumes (community-produced, and from Jim)
- Bryan: Twitter chats (monthly)
- Bryan: Discussion guide PDFs and other downloadables
- Bryan: Webcasts (periodically)
- Bryan: I will pull together relevant data on our materials and provide an overview of how/why we track various assets.
- Chad: How can we (the Ambassadors group, OpenSource.com generally) be more open? Can we talk about a “default open” policy? Why aren’t all GSuite docs public by default? Why aren’t all decisions made publicly on GitHub (or wherever)?
- Laura: One outcome might be an “Open Organization Ambassadors Roadmap”
Meeting with Jim Whitehurst
- Bryan: This portion of the agenda will be held in the Red Hat Boardroom on the 18th floor of Red Hat Tower.
- Introductions to the communities
- Opening comments/remarks from Jim
- Updates from the Opensource.com community moderators
- Updates from the Open Organization ambassadors
- Open Q&A with Jim