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While some of today’s startups may see their culture as the perfect ‘think tank,’ to spark creativity, complete with craft beer, nap pods, and Michelin-starred catering, the reality is simple: It’s not about a company’s culture, it’s about the people. Rather than thinking a simple culture facelift will solve these issues, organizations must dig deeper.
“You can transform your culture, you can become agile, but that doesn’t necessarily also bring you the innovation. I don’t think having beanbags, an open work space, and matching shirts makes you innovative,” said Abby Kearns, vice president of industry cloud strategy at Cloud Foundry.
In this episode of InApps Technology Analysts embedded below, episode #93, InApps Technology hosted a pancake breakfast at the Cloud Foundry Summit 2016. In a panel discussion, TNS founder Alex Williams and co-host Lee Calcote spoke with Kearns; Adam Lewis, vice president of enterprise cloud platforms at Canopy Cloud; Brian Swanson, vice president of cognitive services at DataSkill; and Chris Ferris, Distinguished Engineer and chief technology officer of the open cloud in the IBM Cloud Division’s Open Technologies unit. They discussed to learn more about making the shift to open source in the enterprise, developing team member skill sets, and creating a stronger open source community.
Listen to all TNS podcasts on Simplecast.
The discussion may also be heard on YouTube.
Overall, consistency is key when working with open source, and knowing when to push your team to innovate. Such was the case for the founder of Dataskill, Nigel Hook, who is also a professional offshore boat racer. He knew there was a way he could revolutionize the sport if he could bring the statistics off of his boat to his crew and fans. As such, he went to his team to bring about a top-down culture shift bent on innovation. “He came back with, ’Why is this hard? Why can’t we just do this?’” said Swanson.
Having a consistent framework for developing open source projects, contributing to them, and managing them is something that is crucial as well. “Consistency is about helping people manage complexity. Having standards allows a focal point to happen, to allow people to concentrate. We can stop bringing organizations through disruption, and we can help manage that with a core set of beliefs you can have across all organizations. It’s never about the technology, it’s about the people, processes, and changing the mindset,” Lewis said.
Ferris went on to explain that developers working with open source today are often responsible for more than they have been in the past, which can result in difficulty getting started when moving from a more traditional project setup. “It’s a combination of change in workflow and getting people to be willing and capable of doing more than just one thing. Today, in order to achieve the kinds of transformation we’re going through in IBM, we had to break everything completely apart into small teams that were doing all of it, dev, testing, and CI.”
Having a standardized set of best practices helps streamline this process exponentially, Kearns noted. Implementing concepts such as pair programming encourages developers not only to collaborate as a team but to think critically about why they are making certain choices. “With this changing paradigm, we’re asking people to think about what they do and how they do it very differently.”
As the conversation over pancakes continued, an audience member inquired as to what companies can do to encourage their developers better to continue to innovate, learn, and contribute knowledge to the open source community. Lewis summarized this with a key takeaway which is a testament to creativity:
“It has to be a learning culture. People thrive on knowledge for more information, and we’re all learning as we continue to develop open source.”
Cloud Foundry and IBM are sponsors of InApps Technology.
Feature image via Pixabay.
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