9-11 May 2018

thestudio, Manchester

Growing or distributing teams? Think like open-source

Session type:
Case Study

Session duration:
45 minutes

Presented by:

Paul Shannon

eLife Sciences Publications Ltd

About this Case Study

This session is a first iteration on a long-standing idea created by Paul and his former colleague, who works at a global consultancy, and is based in Australia.

It was observed that many of the teams the consultancy works with would benefit from the ways that lean/agile open-source teams collaborate, especially when they're moving into a new way of distributed working.

Paul's experience in open-source has informed the consultancy in its experimentation with these techniques in teams and they have collectively spoken to many other teams with either similar experience or a similar need.

The goal of this work is to eventually produce a paper on the concept but for now, Paul would like to share his and his friend's experience at a well attended and thought-provoking event like Agile Manchester, and hopefully gather further data, feedback or contacts.

He will take you through an in-depth look at how his team's openness and related ways of working helped them expand their team quickly, while also collaborating with teams and individuals across multiple continents. As his team is in quite a unique organisation, being a nonprofit with a mission to create open-source software, they have the interesting position of working with open-source while also being co-located, permanent and product driven.

Paul will also look at how these ideas are being applied at a global consultancy, bringing examples of techniques adopted from larger open-source projects like Kubernetes and Terraform. He'll further share insight from other software consultancies that regularly work with teams of different skill levels and geographic locations, exploring the ideas of transparency, traceability, empathy, governance, structure, decision making, logistics and automation. He'll conclude with some clear techniques worth investigating in your own teams to help cope with dramatic change, growth and the unpredictability that might bring.

About the Speaker

Paul Shannon is Head of Technology at eLife, a unique collaboration between the funders and practitioners of research to improve the way it is selected, presented and shared. He’s responsible for the technology strategy at eLife, ensuring the team is committed to openness in the products it produces to encourage broad change across the research communication landscape. He’s a regular, international conference speaker and was previously VP Technology for innovative digital music platform 7digital, where he grew the team and scaled the API platform to support the vastly changing music technology industry.


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