OSS – the meet-in-the-middle tool

Many telcos around the world have a sometimes subtle, sometimes not, turf-war going on between networks / operations and IT groups. Virtualisation of the network potentially amplifies this because it increases the scope of possible overlap.

As described in yesterday’s “Noah’s Ark of OSS success,” one of the ways of improving the success of an OSS is to make it relevant to a larger set of users. Theoretically, this includes representatives from networks, ops and IT, which isn’t always easy to achieve.

Is there anything you can do with your OSS to engineer a meet-in-the-middle collaboration space? Are there adjacencies where people from different business units need to collaborate but don’t always succeed in doing so? Are there areas of potential overlap where demarcation and validation can be defined?

Notwithstanding the technical and user interface considerations, there’s also the perspective of who actually owns the meet-in-the-middle tool. For example, if it’s an IT-owned tool, there are risks that networks / ops might not want to contribute to its success. Ditto if it’s owned by networks or ops.

As an integrator I’ve seen many examples of technically relevant solutions not succeeding because of people-related issues. Organisational change management is an often-underestimated tool that isn’t factored into OSS projects until too late, particularly within large, complex organisation structures.

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2 Responses

  1. “Organisational change management is an often-underestimated tool that isn’t factored into OSS projects until too late”….never too late Ryan, just gets measurably harder the longer you leave it.

    Regarding ownership, it’s an interesting topic. I’m currently trying to change the perception of “ownership” to “responsibility” as I’m not convinced that a system as complex as an OSS can have one true owner (at least in the way our organisation is structured and the modules deployed in the OSS). I think there is a misunderstanding between ownership and responsibility and is often down to a lack of defined roles/responsibilities and process. There can also be the confusion surrounding support and ownership, ie just because IT support the tool doesn’t mean they “own” it. I have a discussion paper around this topic of managing an OSS….might let you see it if you give me a copy of your book 🙂

  2. Hi Mark

    He who funds it owns it. 🙂

    But to be less flippant, you’re right that there are so many grey areas around ownership / responsibility – hold on, it’s just become a meet-in-the-middle tool again.

    I’ll ping you separately about the book.

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