Our goal is to share some of our Open Development ideas and best practices, and get feedback from others who might be working in similar ways.
The Open Source is done, welcome to Open Development article that I wrote for SDTimes a while ago, and the video of an ApacheCon talk below give an overview of what we mean by Open Development: a way of organising software projects that’s close to how Open Source projects work.
The strictly hierarchical way of organising software teams might not be valid anymore, in a world where people are used to work collaboratively in meritocratic environments. To ship commercial software on time and within budget, however, requires a discipline that is sometimes absent in Open Source projects. We strive to find a balance between the chain of command that’s needed to achieve company objectives and the creative freedom and effective collaboration that best practices from Open Source projects provide.
We’re not going to disclose all the elements of our secret sauce here, as a commercial company we need some secrets to keep our competitive edge. A large part of our Open Development best practices, however, are based on plain common sense and on known good examples such as the Apache Software Foundation in which a number of our colleagues are active – so no secrets in those areas, it’s mostly just a slight adaptation of those public best practices.
Not everybody within Adobe works in this way – you could probably not get more than 10’000 people to agree on this, and groups which have other established best practices might be perfectly happy with them. As I write this, the AEM, Granite framework and Coral UI groups are three major examples of successfully applying these techniques, and we see a slow but regular growth in the number of people who agree that working in this way helps us deliver more value.
We hope that you’ll find this blog useful, and welcome discussions and constructive criticism in comments. Although some of us have been working in this way for a long time, giving a name to those practices and documenting them is relatively new, so we’ll probably need lots of adjustments to reach the Open Development Nirvana, if there’s such a thing. We count on our readers to help us reach this goal!
Bertrand Delacretaz, Principal Scientist (and Open Development Activist) at Adobe.
Open Development in the Enterprise, from ApacheCon NA 2013, Portland, OR