The A Team

Plenty of recruiters and those in HR like to talk about engaging in a war for talent, but to be truthful, most of it is about finding good enough people at an acceptable rate of pay. Filling slots.
More relevant and urgent, though, is that it’s not really a search for talent. It’s a search for attitude….
….An organization filled with honest, motivated, connected, eager, learning, experimenting, ethical and driven people will always defeat the one that merely has talent. Every time.

Seth Godin
on this blog entry.

OSS projects are generally challenging, complicated, intense, urgent, etc. This means you need the “A” team on your team (No I don’t mean The A Team TV Series from the 80’s).

The Pareto principle probably holds true for staff on OSS projects too in that 20% of the staff get 80% of the work done.

Companies often “fill” a project team with resources rather than seeking out and developing the best available. And the best available is definitely not just based on technical prowess. As Seth states above “honest, motivated, connected, eager, learning, experimenting, ethical and driven people” make all the difference, in our case on OSS projects. This especially holds true when the team is based away from their home environment (eg an overseas posting) and away from their safety net of friends and family.

Similarly if you don’t yet have the expertise to be in your organisation’s A Team based on your knowledge or understanding, the right attitude will certainly help you develop as there are no end of new things to learn and share on an OSS project.

I’ve also found that attitude is infectious on OSS projects. Good attitudes lift those around them. Negative attitudes drag others down. Or to borrow from the Nordstrom customer service adage, “hire the smile, train the skill.”

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