This is the second article in a documentary on implementing an OSPO structure at Postman.
Since October 2022, Postman has an Open Source Program Office that helps define structure and processes related to everything Open Source, as well as remove barriers to collaboration between Open Source projects and other teams. We call it the Open Technologies Program Office (OTPO), as it lives within Open Technologies, Postman's central instance of Open Source. We're here to reduce friction for contributing to, transfer projects into and create new Open Source. And make us become a first-class member of the Open Source community.
Postman's OTPO became a general member of the TODO Group, an initiative within the Linux Foundation to help and promote the work of Open Source Program Offices worldwide. They have a bunch of content and guidance and an awesome community to share with and learn from. If I was to recommend one single thing to a company to up their Open Source game, it would be "designate someone to work with the TODO Group".
We also made some internal changes to enable some of our Open Source projects to directly work with the Program Office. This means some of the contributors working full-time for an Open Source project from within Postman are now part of the Program Office's org. I don't like to call it "reporting line", as that would suggest there's a reporting due. Such management is not what a Program Office is about. An Open Source Program Office is better represented by servant leadership princip[les, where your duty as a leader is "the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong".
We're currently working on the general Open Source Policy for Postman. Postman is also participating on the TODO Groups working group to create guides, e.g. the Employee Open Source Engagement Guide, to help other companies build their own strategy.
Postman's Open Source Policy is built with focus on encouraging the use, creation and contribution to Open Source Software and Projects. It will cover these three fields in separate documentation, as "Use of Open Source" is managed by Engineering (use in the tech stack of the product) and IT (use by teams and individuals as tools), and "Contribution" and "Creation" will be supported and led by the Program Office.
Once this gets to a less drafty state, I will make it available as Open Source.
We have created an Open Source career ladder system for Open Source contributors and other roles within OSPOs, that you are free to use. We ourselves borrowed from Sarah Drasner's career ladders and Mary Thengvall's career paths. If you haven't seen a career ladder for your role or for roles that you are responsible for, I can recommend to spend some time reading and adopting a custom version of this for roles in your company.
We've set up Office Hours two times a week (spanning three continents) to have a place that everyone at Postman is able to ask questions and find information other than on a Slack channel (we have that, too). We're announcing these Office Hours regularly so people would be able to find us even if they hadn't heard about the OTPO before.
There's also a comprehensive overview of the scope of the OTPO on our company knowledge base (Confluence wiki), where you'd not only find the OTPO's current projects (like the career ladder or the Open Source Policy), but also details on who we are, where to find us and what our scope of work and level of influence is.
Reach out to me if you are interested in becoming an essential part of our Program Office. We're building a diverse team consisting of
- a Technical Program Manager
- a Technical Community Manager
- a Technical Writer / Technical Editor
- a Developer Relations Engineer
There'll be more parts to this series soon. It's a documentary of what we're building, and it's a long way ahead.