Open Source Blueprints: replicable experiments in open source adoption

Is there a better way for helping companies and public administrations in the OSS adoption process? Most adoptions are based on a few different paths, for example by grassroots adoption, from consultancy intervention, by trying to replicate a known success story. In this sense, the concept of “best practice” can be considered as a way to tell others of something that worked well, but in the past it has not been successful in replicating the experience.

Best Practices Best Practices by andai

So, considering that most public administrations are pushing for initiatives to help the adoption process (even if it mainly means creating another forge – like the Italian one just launched – I would like to propose the concept of the “implementation blueprint” as an
extension of the best practice model. The idea came out of our experience in the
Open TTT project, that is trying to leverage the technology transfer process used in the IRC network to facilitate the match between technology demand and offer in OSS.

A blueprint is a replicable and complete description of a set of tools and processes that satisfied a specific need. In this sense, a complete blueprint must contain the following items:

  • a complete description of the needs; this should include a complete textual
  • description of what was requested, including mandatory and secondary requests
  • a description of the context of the needs, for example within a public
  • administration, with specific legal requirements, an SME, etc
  • the set of technologies used
  • the process implemented
  • criticalities or additional constraints appeared during the implementation process
  • an estimate of the human effort invested in the migration process.

Why so much detail? Because replicability requires a significant amount on information not only on the technological means, but also on how those tools were used to create a complete solution.

As these mapping efforts are already under way – for example the Italian Open Source Observatory has a listing section, called “vetrina” that provides short summaries of public administrations’ experience with open source – it may be interesting to propose a collaborative writing process, maybe wikipedia-based, to turn nice-to-know stories into replicable experiences.

[tags] Open Source Observatory, OpenTTT, best practice [tags]