Defining an OSS vision

It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.”
Steve Jobs.

I’m currently reading a book by Peter Sander entitled, “What would Steve Jobs Do?

Peter describes the following key take-aways for establishing a vision from his analysis of Steve’s actions:

  1. What would I want from a product / experience?
  2. What would surprise and delight (noting that surprise can’t be developed via user surveys)?
  3. All parts make the total experience
  4. Can you describe 3 useful customer insights? Have you met customers at least 3 times in the last quarter?

To overlay these questions with an OSS perspective:

  1. I want my OSS to provide a limitless stream of insights for my organisation
  2. I would be surprised by an OSS that I could just use without training and delighted if it provides business insights that I would not have otherwise imagined
  3. An OSS is not just an implementation project but it must deliver a customer focus from sales, products, implementation, after-sales support and more. A 360 degree customer perspective requires OSS vendors / suppliers to develop a culture of customer service in all divisions
  4. A customer often has a previous or current perspective on their OSS and not always a future view. To quote Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” However, tracing back from customer problems and needs allowed Steve to create a stream of game-changing products. In OSS, customers tend to have a common set of problems
    • To gain a suitable level of investment in my OSS, I need to deliver a platform for innovation that gives my whole organisation a competitive advantage
    • For credibility within my organisation, I need OSS projects to run on time, on budget and deliver on promised benefits
    • For my OSS to remain relevant, I need after-sales support that benefits my organisation rather than focussing on up-sell
    • Due to my aim for widespread use of our OSS tools, I need the products to be simple enough for users to quickly develop proficiency with little training
    • To ensure my OSS remains trusted within my organisation, its data integrity needs to have a continual improvement feedback loop
    • To ensure my OSS remains relevant it needs to remain flexible to the constant change that effects my organisation
    • To improve the efficiency of my organisation, the OSS processes need to be simpler than before this OSS was implemented and must have mechanisms for continual monitoring and improvement
    • To derive a reasonable payback period that justifies our investment, the value derived over time from our OSS needs to exceed the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
    • I’m sure you can help add many others to this list.

When combining the list of needs above with the massive inflection point that is looming, we need the leadership to provide a whole new vision for OSS.

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