Learning from Mistakes

There are two kinds of learning: experience, which is gained from your own mistakes, and wisdom, which is learned from the mistakes of others
John C. Maxwell

When working on any OSS project, there are plenty of experiences to be gained. 😉

But where does your wisdom come from? In what forums do you learn from others? Who do you learn from?

I try to have regular discussions with the many OSS experts I know and trust. Whilst I can’t share their first-hand experiences, there is still so much to learn from their stories.

It seems that the same core learning opportunities pervade the industry:

  • Organisational Change Management – is overlooked or not spread much further than the project implementation team. Impacted OSS user groups are much broader than that, so the change management effort needs to be spread far and wide. Part of this is a lack of suitable involvement by the CSP during the OctopOSS implementation
  • Requirements Capture – the requirements and/or use cases weren’t sufficiently specified to build a system around or the requirements evolved over the duration of the project
  • Complexity – Many projects unravel by focussing on the minutae rather than the key outcomes
  • The product was oversold or under-delivered – not enough verification was made of the vendor’s claims
  • Data Integrity – there are many possible reasons why an OSS’s data accuracy disintegrate, making even the most perfect product unusable

It’s interesting that many of the problems come back to the same root-causes and preventative activities described in Why do so many OSS projects fail – the 5 whys analysis.

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