360 degree OSS view from 6 blind men

In the world of OSS, the blind men are like the 6 (or more) different departments – operations, business, IT, sales, marketing, executive, etc. Each interacts with the OSS elephant and each has a different experience with it.”
Yesterday’s post on Six blind men and an OSS elephant.

Each of us, and each of the stakeholder groups we represent, has a different perception of our OSS. We have different interactions with it and different biases that influence the perceptions. Similarly, we each have different knowledge about it.

But who knows the solution best? Operations, business, IT, project team, system integrators? The flippant answer would be none do because of the different perspectives / biases. Another flippant answer is that collectively they all do, as they all contribute to a shared vision.

The more likely answer is the person / people / group that makes the effort to understand the others. That’s why thrashing is so important in the early stages of an OSS project. It’s also why I find it interesting in the organisations that intentionally compartmentalise OSS knowledge and insert organisational barriers to prevent wisdom sharing beyond demarcation points. Sure, it constrains the effort to areas of specialisation, but you end up with teams who think the elephant is just the tail, the tusks, the ears, etc.

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