OSS predictions are useless… but invaluable

Planning is useless but planning is invaluable.
Predictions are useless but invaluable
.”
Scott Galloway
.

The world of OSS, if it’s even called that anymore, is in a rapid state of change. Business models, delivery models, network topologies, IT platforms, test methodologies and more are creating impacts that are changing our industries and that’s not even taking into account the innovative and disruptive OSS products that are coming to market.

Scott Galloway’s quote above, which extends on the widely known quote about planning, provides a sense of what it’s like to work in OSS. When planning any changes on our OSS, particularly major transformations, we’re making decisions that will influence the organisation’s business for years to come. I’ve seen short-term fixes that have still been carrying production more than five years after implementation. OSS are very sticky like that, as I’m sure you’re well aware.

So in an environment of massive flux, we need to make predictions about what our business models, delivery models, etc are going to look like multiple years into the future. If we build against current practices, our OSS is likely to be out of date before we even finish implementing it.

If we plan for what our future OSS environment might look like, we will be proven wrong when judged in the future… but the exercise is still invaluable.

Now I’m no Nostradamus, but when atttempting to predict the future of OSS, I tend to start with

  • Principles that have proven to be reliable in the past, such as using Moore’s Law to predict the scale we’ll need to cope with
  • Identifying the areas that represent OSS‘ biggest problems in the eyes of customers (which can usually be related back to complexity)
  • OSS are efficiency and insight tools, so amplify these
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