Leadership in an OpenSource Project

In the past week have been confronted with several issues related to project planning, task & time management and project execution. Just defining the “deliverables” has been a real challenge. Given that the workforce of the company I work for is largely constituted of people who consider themselves to be volunteers, it makes for an interesting work environment. I naturally gravitate towards planning for tactical success and wanting to view things from the “big picture” perspective – knowing how the parts fit together. Project planning and project execution involves a lot of decision making and a lot of communicating about decisions.

Over the last year I have been watching with some interest the UI development of WordPress. UI design is an area that I really enjoy. So when I saw Jane presenting on this issue of “How decisions get made at WordPress” (on the Open Source part of the project), I thought I would watch it. I thought that I would be watching how a company does UI decision making. But the focus of the talk was broader than that. It was generally good to see a model at work in a company where there is a successful product. As I listened to the discussion I was struck at how their project deals with:

  • Decision Making
  • Community Involvement
  • Consensus Building
  • Project Planning
  • Leadership
  • Sustainability

In many respects the company I work with deals with these same issues. It was good to see how another company/project deals with these issues, and sees these kinds of issues as important to the success of their product.