Fighting OSS fires

If you are constantly fire-fighting, you have the impression that you are surrounded by many, many problems… However, careful analysis will point to a few core problems that will solve all the fires.
Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his book, “It’s Not Luck

Have you ever worked on OSS projects/programs that seemed to have infernos blazing almost everywhere you looked? I have unfortunately (or maybe I should say “fortunately” because of the learning opportunities they yielded).

I tend to agree with the great quote above. In most cases, OSS projects are not unlike alarm storms in that they generally have only a few root causes.

If you feel like your job title should be “OSS Fire Fighter,” but your team can’t quite isolate what’s fuelling the fires, then you might like to have a look at this blog I wrote some time ago that uses the Toyota Five-Whys approach to distil the issues into a few core problems.

The OSS five why analysis that is linked on the blog may also give you some pointers on how you can perform your own analysis.

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