OSS flaws

People are too eager to say “This legendary person had flaws!” instead of, “Wow, this flawed human being managed to do something legendary.”
Mishell Baker.

Interesting perspective from Mishell above, one which I concur with.

As usual, I have a take on this in relation to OSS. I think we often spend so much time on making the little things perfect that we lose sight of the big things that will make our OSS legendary. But this is something of a contrarian view.

Your customers and your stakeholders expect your product offerings to be perfect, for no fall-outs to occur, for all events to be processed, for no exceptions to arise, etc. I agree that this is a great objective, although I’d also note that this level of perfection requires an exceptional amount of your thought, design, development, process, data cleansing and testing.

But I wonder whether all that extra effort could be redirected to identifying and creating products that can make a significant difference to the organisation, acknowledging that there will be slight imperfections that are captured and processed manually.

This perspective is particularly important for customers / stakeholders that don’t have large budgets to allocate to their OSS. They need to get the best organisational bang for their buck, rather than a smaller but highly refined product.

But the tough part of this is convincing stakeholders that they won’t be getting perfection (although noting that there is no such thing in OSS anyway). How many of customers / stakeholders have you ever been able to persuade to accept flaws in return for something legendary?

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