Communicating the OSS faith

Sometimes communicating to someone that you have faith in them and believe they can succeed is all they need to actually succeed.”
Keith Cameron Smith
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As you might have guessed, I spend a lot of time working in and analysing the OSS industry. I’ve also worked in many countries and organisations on OSS-related projects. This all leads to the obvious – I’ve worked alongside many, many very talented OSS experts from around the world and in many environments.

Success in OSS comes in so many shades of grey. There’s rarely a pure right or wrong answer. Even the identification of a very high proportion of right answers doesn’t guarantee long-term project success. It’s such an intellectual industry that we work in and a highly opinionated one at that. We all have our own unique histories and related frames of reference.

The intellectual / opinionated industry we work in always seems to create intellectually-charged environments (at least all the wide and varied places I’ve worked), where it’s easy to be dismissive of those who don’t have the same frame of reference as you. It can be an especially daunting environment for the new-starters who don’t yet have the depth of reference points as their colleagues.

When I look at the opening quote from Keith Cameron Smith, it highlights my own inadequacies. It highlights the number of times I’ve failed to communicate a faith in others to allow them to succeed. It’s something I need to constantly remind myself of – to use my OSS experiences to encourage, not discourage. To seek to listen and learn from the many other frames of reference / experiences of my colleagues.

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