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Open Source Technology Management

A three-course specialization offered in partnership with the Open Source Initiative

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Prepare yourself to meet the growing demand for open source expertise with a three-course specialization in Open Source Technology Management.

As more organizations start leveraging open source software to foster innovation and efficiencies, employers need talent well-versed in the dedicated policies and programs required to ensure that the investments in open source projects produce the desired benefits while still aligning with the values of the open source communities.   


Available courses:


» Connect with leading open source experts and advocates from all over the world.

»  Skill up as you develop a critical understanding of open source principles and practices.

»  Give back through the networks you create and advance open source communities within your organization and beyond.


The Business of Open Source

Reports indicate open source software now accounts for between 78% and 98% of all core digital infrastructure, yet few organizational managers understand the business behind it. This course will introduce you to industry practices and cultures that promote the production of business-ready, cost-effective software, delivering quicker innovation, reduced time to market, freedom from lock-in, enhanced reliability, lower total cost of ownership, and a host of other benefits. The course is designed to help organizational managers and technical professionals make informed decisions about open source software, the communities of practice that enable it and the organizations that rely on it.

The course will prepare you to successfully deploy open source software and effectively engage in open source production. You will learn about the origins, impetus, and differences of the Free and OSS movements; investigate the relationships between proprietary and open development; and understand the current status and issues around open source development, projects, and communities. You will be challenged to assess traditional organizational practice and measure their capacity to manage reform, in light of the differences presented by open source. This may require rethinking business models, procurement methods, project management methodologies, understandings of total cost of ownership, staffing, management of non-vendor and community relationships, risk assessment, and commercialization.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Develop an implementation plan to identify and address gaps within an organization that may inhibit effective adoption of open source technology.
  • Explain the impetus, value proposition, community principles, and common practices of Open Source Software, open source development and communities of practice, and some of the implications for engaging within contemporary organizations.
  • Differentiate between open source and other forms of software licensing, production, and distribution models related to typical business operations: procurement, HR, marketing and communications, etc.
  • Assess an organization’s preparedness for successful participation in open source production and community involvement.
  • Assess the variety of open source business models as compared to traditional proprietary approaches.

Open Source Community Development

Any manager responsible for decisions about the adoption, production, or participation in open source software will benefit greatly by understanding open source communities of practice. The relationships between OSS projects, community-based production, and open source licenses are critical to those managing technology portfolios. Of all of the characteristics that distinguish open source from proprietary production, it is perhaps the role of community that is most culturally sophisticated and nuanced. While there is clearly a management science, community is just as clearly an art.

This course enables you to understand the various roles in communities of practice supporting open source software development, adoption, and maintenance. You will assess the characteristics, viability, and appropriateness of the community; how to participate in the community; and the implications of starting new (i.e “forking”) communities. You'll also learn about different types of communities: management philosophies, community governance, communication strategies, and how they impact the roles and responsibilities of members, the expectations and responsibilities of participants, the motivations of different community members, and how such communities may align—or not—with corporate interests.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the role and value of “community” in Open Source Software production.
  • Identify the different roles that individual and organizational participants can take in an Open Source Software community.
  • Articulate different approaches to community leadership and management based on roles within an organization and with the wider Open Source Software community.
  • Assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of an Open Source Software community.
  • Identify the different roles and related management structures within organizations that may contribute to Open Source Software production. 

Open Source Development Fundamentals

Open source software certainty is not, and may never have been, principally developed “in somebody’s basement.” The production of open, distributed, and community-driven software requires design and development methodologies, and workflows that support the advantages of peer to peer, highly collaborative, iterative production. Without appropriate processes and methods, collective software development can turn into a mess. Open source development processes and methods are at the core of quality and organizational managers need the knowledge and understanding of open development to make informed decisions. Physical and organizational decentralization is promoted not only by open source community development models, but also by the nature of open licensing models and the culture of sharing and contribution that is an important part of many open source projects. Managing a sustainable community responsible for generating critical organizational information and technology assets can be a complex and consequential undertaking.

In this course you will learn about managing community development in relation to the technology infrastructure frequently used to support decentralized workflow for design, development, and distribution. In addition to introducing elements of technical infrastructure including development, community, communication, distribution, and administration tools, you will be introduced to workflows that ensure quality and predictability as well as common project methodologies and approaches.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Develop an implementation plan and make recommendations for production workflow in response to Open Source Software case studies.
  • Apply iterative and incremental methodologies to given case studies.
  • Differentiate and critique the support, management, and governance of different types of distributed open source communities.
  • Describe and assess infrastructure frequently used to support workflows designed to ensure product reliability and project integrity.
  • Determine and apply applicable project management methodologies that lend themselves to decentralized development and Open Source values.

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