An accumulation of OSS problems

By approaching my problems with “What might make things a little better?” rather than “What is the solution?” I avoid setting myself up for certain frustration. My experience has shown me that I am not going to solve anything in one stroke; at best I am only going to chip away at it.”
Hugh Prather

The following are the first three steps along the path to solving a problem (but prior to what are actually known as the resolution steps):

  1. Listing
  2. Defining / describing and then
  3. Understanding the problem

Today’s blog is not going to help solve any of your problems unfortunately, but it will act as a reference point listing the biggest issues that face those involved in OSS. I expect that I’ll refer back to this list on a regular basis because these issues are the ones that most urgently need resolution and hence most urgently need the attention of innovators.

I see these problems as being broken into two major categories:

  1. Design / Integration / Implementation Issues – these are the issues that product and project teams most urgently need to resolve, but primarily distil down to “why do OSS projects fail?”
  2. Ongoing Operational Issues – these are the issues that operational teams need to resolve or have resolved for them by systems, processes and/or people

Design / Integration / Implementation Issues
These key issues in this category have been covered in an earlier Toyota Five Whys Analysis, with the actual list of issues (and possible remedial actions) shown in the Analysis PDF. At a high level, this category of issues can be encapsulated as follows:

  • Reducing project costs
  • Reducing project commissioning times
  • Delivering on functional expectations
  • Delivering on expected benefits
  • Readying the organisation for the change caused by the new tools / processes / structure
  • Reducing complexity

Ongoing Operational Issues
I’ve partially covered this category of issues in an earlier blog entitled “Quarter Inch Hole” but the big-picture issues can be summarised again as follows:

  • Getting new products to market faster than competitors
  • Turning on customer services faster than present (and/or faster than competitors)
  • Improving operational quality (eg designs), or more importantly, reduce re-work
  • Accurately understanding resource utilisation to improve capital efficiency
  • Detecting and resolving problems faster
  • Developing new revenue streams through novel approaches
  • Improving brand value and recognition via methods such as improved reliability
  • Reducing operational expense
  • Increasing NPS (Net Promoter Score) or other customer relationship metrics
  • Reducing complexity
  • Improving operator ramp-up times (ie reaching an expected level of aptitude quickly)

Are there any other significant issues that I have overlooked and need to add to these lists?

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