How to Foster Collaboration with Open Source

“Every conversation that you have brings the potential for collaboration,” says Stephen Augustus, Head of Open Source, Cisco.

Augustus recently spoke with Noah Abrahams, Open Source Advocate at StormForge, and co-host Cody Crudgington in a StormForge Fireside Chat, in which they discussed a variety of topics ranging from Kubernetes, open source foundations, corporate support, and open source program offices.

In discussing the value of an open source program office (OSPO), Augustus says, “The ethos of your company should be to contribute to open source on all levels, right? Now when you do that, it’s table stakes. It’s no longer like, is this the thing that we should be doing, or okay let’s have these people do it, they are the open source people. No, we’re all open source people. We all should be open source people, right?”

What this really involves, he says, is fostering collaboration. “That is legit what it’s about. Fostering collaboration the same way as would happen in an open source project.” So, he asks, “instead of building that function, why not have that as a baseline consideration for building your org?” 

In considering how organizations can start to implement a culture of open source, Augustus recommends taking inventory and having conversations with folks. He cautions against reinventing the wheel at this stage, because “I guarantee you someone in the org is working on that thing that you’re thinking about.” 

For example, he says, you may already have an internal tools engineering team or an SRE team, where they’re essentially building tools for collaboration in some way, shape, or form. “That is part of the essence of what we’re trying to do, right? Foster collaboration. Build tools that allow us to collaborate more effectively with people.”

Watch the complete (captioned) presentation at StormForge.

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