Blog Post

Demonstrating OSPO Value and How CHAOSS Can Help

By October 19, 2023No Comments
Pile of intertwined measuring tapes of various colors

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs) can demonstrate value within their organizations and how CHAOSS metrics and software can help. As a result, I’ve given presentations, had discussions on a podcast, and wrote a blog post about this topic. I wanted to write a summary blog post here to highlight the work in one place while tying some of those conversations together into a broader narrative.

I recently attended OSPOlogy Live in Frankfurt, which had presentations and engaging roundtable discussions about a wide variety of topics relevant for OSPOs. My presentation was about Getting More Value from your OSPO, and I talked about how OSPOs can take a more strategic approach by fostering alignment between individual contributors, business unit leadership, and the communities where employees contribute. The presentation also spent quite a bit of time on how an OSPO can demonstrate value toward accomplishing the overall goals of an organization while using metrics to make improvements and demonstrate success toward meeting those goals. Sean Goggins presented on the topic of Selecting the Right Collections of Sustainability Metrics with a focus on how OSPOs can be data providers that can help an organization make sense out of the mountains of data generated by open source software. CHAOSS Metrics Models help OSPOs focus on collections of meaningful data to create something that provides insight and wisdom about their open source efforts. Ulrike Fempel from SAP’s OSPO wrote a great wrap-up of the Frankfurt edition of OSPOlogy Live if you’d like more details. If you haven’t already attended an OSPOlogy Live event, it’s a great place to discuss challenges and solutions with your OSPO peers!

Building on my presentation about showing the value of an OSPO and Sean’s talk about metrics models as collections of metrics, I wrote a blog post about Measuring Open Source Project Health for Opensource.net that focused mostly on the CHAOSS Starter Project Health Metrics Model. OSPOs can be overwhelmed by the mountains of data and metrics available to understand open source projects, so this blog post and metrics model are designed to help new OSPOs (or ones new to metrics) get started with a few relatively easy metrics. Not only are these metrics relatively easy to gather, they also make it easy to understand how to take action on the data to make meaningful improvements to the health of open source projects. The goal is to get OSPOs started on their journey into using data to learn and improve with the idea that they can expand on this and start measuring other things that matter to an OSPO.

Another thing that OSPOs care deeply about is the long-term viability of the open source projects that their organizations’ rely on for infrastructure along with the products and services that they deliver to their customers. It ultimately comes down to a complex assessment of risk vs. reward across many dimensions, including security, community, and governance, just to name a few. We recently released a podcast about Open Source Software Viability and Project Selection where Matt Germonprez, Sophia Vargus (Google), Gary White (Verizon), and I talked in depth about how to assess viability and some of the metrics used in those assessments. Gary is also working on publishing some metrics models and blog posts, so watch this space to learn more about measuring open source software viability. 

If you are interested in learning more, we have an OSPO Working Group within the CHAOSS project that we have jointly with the TODO Group. We meet every other Thursday and have Slack channels both within the CHAOSS Slack and TODO Group Slack workspaces if you want to join in these discussions or ask questions.

Photo by patricia serna on Unsplash.

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