OSTM Courses

Open Source Business Practices

The Business of Open Source introduces students 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, which is practically every organization.

This course prepares students to successfully deploy Open Source Software, and effectively engage in open source production. Students will learn about Open Source Business Practices, and understand the issues around open source development in a business setting. Students 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, staffing, risk assessment, and commercialization.

After taking this course, the student will be able to:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Assess the variety of open source business models as compared to traditional proprietary approaches.
  4. Identify the different roles and related management structures within organizations that may contribute to Open Source Software production.
Establish an Open Source Program Office

Establish an Open Source Program Office introduces students to industry practices they will need to develop within their organizations to effectively release or leverage open source software. The course is designed to help organizational managers and technical professionals make informed decisions about Open Source Software, and how to manage risk and enable best practices while building a business on open source.

This course prepares students to establish an Open Source Program Office within their organizations. Students will learn what an Open Source Program Office is, why an organization needs an Open Source Program Office, how to assess organizational readiness and policy, managing risks, and how to establish an Open Source Program Office. Students 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, staffing, risk assessment, and commercialization. 

After taking this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain what an Open Source Program Office is, and why an organization needs an Open Source Program Office
  2. Understand organizational readiness and policy.
  3. Assess and manage risks associated with open source business models as compared to traditional proprietary approaches.
  4. Identify the different roles and related management structures within organizations that may contribute to establishing an Open Source Program Office.
Cultivate an Open Source Community

The relationships between Open Source Software projects, community-based production, and open source licenses are critical to those managing technology portfolios. In this micro-course students will learn about the various roles in communities of practice that support Open Source Software development, adoption, and maintenance. Students will assess the characteristics, viability, and appropriateness of the community; how to participate in the community; and the implications of starting new (e.g., “forking”) communities.

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the changing role and value of “community” in Open Source Software production.
  2. Articulate why members join open source communities, how they align to the community mission, and how they are expected to work within the community.
  3. Compare how different collaboration tools influence the way open source community members achieve their goals.
  4. Define management strategies and a team structure for an open source community to support its health and sustainability.
Integrating Open Source Communities in Corporate Environments

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 corporations and the community-based production in open source software projects is often misunderstood, limiting  the realization of the full value that communities can have in corporate contexts. Many large corporations have figured out how to leverage open source communities for their benefit and invest heavily in them, creating new opportunities for individuals and corporations involved in these communities. 

This course enables you to realize the value propositions of open source communities in a corporate context and communicate that value effectively. You will build your argumentative skills for discussing with internal stakeholders whether open sourcing intellectual property is the appropriate business decision; reflect on how to select resources that a corporation can deploy for building a successful and healthy open source community; differentiate between organizational and communal interests and how to balance them as organizational members engage in open source communities; and measure ROI of community engagement to demonstrate the value open source software community engagement provides to the organization. The assignments are designed to build your repertoire of arguments to advise and convince your team and your management.

Course Outcomes

After taking this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the role and value of “community” in Corporate Open Source Software production.
  2. Identify corporate influence in open source communities.
  3. Articulate different business strategies for getting value from open source communities.
  4. Assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of an Open Source Software community.
  5. Identify the different roles and related management structures within organizations that may contribute to Open Source Software production.
Open Source Workflow and Infrastructure

Decentralized and distributed open source development utilizing community-based production requires thoughtful communication, orchestrated tooling, and defined governance models. The skillful execution of these elements can lead to a project that incorporates code, ideas, and creativity of a distributed set of expertise that often have competing interests and motivations. In this micro-course students will study the various types of open source communities, their governance models, and how they utilize defined workflows and tooling (infrastructure) to keep their communities connected and collaborating. At the end of this course students will apply these learnings to design a suite of infrastructure and tooling to support an open source project and community.

Students will learn about design and development methodologies, and workflows that support the advantages of peer to peer, highly collaborative, iterative production in the development of open, distributed, and community-driven software. 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.

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify Open Source community types and their governance models
  2. Articulate how the infrastructure and workflows support the community
  3. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of an infrastructure model for a given project
  4. Develop a maturity model and improvement timeline for an Open Source project
  5. Design and detail a suite of tooling, workflows, and models to create infrastructure for a new or existing open source project
Production of Distributed Open Source Software

Physical and organizational decentralization is promoted not only by open source community development models but also by open licensing models and the culture of sharing and contribution that is an important part of many open source projects. In this micro-course, students will participate in planning the production of distributed open source software through project and program management methodologies and the design of workflows that encourage mass collaboration. These methodologies enable an information technology unit to support a decentralized workflow for the design, development, and distribution of software. Managing a sustainable community responsible for generating critical organizational information and technology assets can be a complex and consequential undertaking.

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  1. Determine and apply applicable project management methodologies that lend themselves to decentralized development and Open Source values
  2. Identify workflows and processes that encourage collaboration and decentralized decision making
  3. Develop milestone and deadline planning across multiple independent teams
  4. Determine the viability of infrastructure used to support workflows designed to ensure product reliability and project integrity
  5. Develop an implementation plan and make recommendations for production workflow in response to an Open Source Software problem of practice