Getting to Productive

A long apprenticeship is the most logical way to success. The only alternative is overnight stardom, but I can’t give you a formula for that.”
Chet Atkins

In an earlier post entitled “serving an apprenticeship,” I spoke about the length of time it takes for each OSS newbie to reach a state of being productive. On complex OSS platforms, the ramp-up time is probably 6 months plus.

And even for an OSS expert, each new project or product will also require a ramp-up period before being productive and longer still to become a linchpin. What might be “hit the ground running” in other fields is at best a case of “hit the ground crawling” because every OSS situation is so different from the last, be it corporate culture, personalities, technologies, processes, terminologies, network topologies, service offerings, etc.

For this reason I am staggered when I see OSS organisations with a burn and churn mentality with their staff. Efficiency and continuity leaves with every departing staff member and none are instantaneously replaceable. So it seems obvious that staff turnover is a key KPI to measure and manage.

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