OctopOSS Exit Strategies

“It is very difficult to get a project approved at Lend Lease, because:
– An enormous amount of due dilligence is required to be undertaken in order to understand all the risks
– It must be clear that the project has drawn on existing expertise and experience within Lend Lease
– The project faces high financial hurdles for approval
– The project must have access to the manangement and organisational expertise to carry it out
– There must be an exit strategy availabile, in case the project does not meet expectations”

Hubbard et al in “The First XI

The last dot-point above is certainly the most interesting. It is the equivalent of the pre-nuptial agreement in the OSS world. Similar to a pre-nup, it is rarely considered except by the CSPs with the most to lose. Most CSPs dive into their OSS relationship assuming that it will be a match made in heaven and there will be no need for a complex dissolution of the relationship in the future.

There are a few ways that this possible outcome can be planned for:

  • Contractually – inserting clauses that make a termination of the contract simpler and cleaner. It may even include definition of the effort required to remove the OSS product / service
  • Architecturally – ensure that interfaces to other systems are kept to a minimum, are precisely documented for possible future breaking of the link, information is shared between systems via simpler means (eg shared databases rather than complex interfaces) and/or systems are kept very modular. Vendors are adept at building hooks into their applications that make it difficult to remove part or all of their solutions. Your architecture and commercial teams will need to ensure that these are identified and removed where possible. In other words, simplify the “OSS chess board” as discussed here
  • Strategically – Ensuring that there contingencies built into processes to be able to work around the solution if it needs to be changed out at a future date, as well as having an alternate solution in mind
  • Project – contingency planning during the OctopOSS implementation, including possible extrication from the project if the product and vendor aren’t living up to expectations

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