Measuring your Company’s Open Source Maturity: A Quiz

Are you blocking open source or using it to transform your business? Find out your company’s stage of open source maturity

As companies become more comfortable with open source software, they naturally mature through four stages in open source adoption: Prevent, Manage, Embrace, Transform. Take this simple quiz to find out what stage your company is in and what open source issues you need to address.  

To take the quiz, put a checkmark next to each statement that is True.

The "Prevent" Stage

This phase is characterized by denial that open source is used and futile attempts to limit its adoption.

  • Our CTO/CIO barely knows what open source is.
  • When you mention "open source" to our legal staff, they break out in hives.
  • The only open source technologies on our "approved" list are Linux and the Apache web server
  • Our company has blocked Internet access to SourceForge and Google Code.
  • Our development management is likely to say, "we don't use much open source".
  • We don't have a written open source policy.
  • Our open source policy says you can use open source when hell freezes over.
  • Our developers know better than to tell anyone they use open source because they might have to give it up.

The "Manage" Stage

In this phase companies accept that open source will have a place in their IT infrastructure and try to limit any perceived risks.

  • We recently got an email asking us to disclose open source we are using.
  • Our company has published an open source policy that says open source may be used when there is a business justification.
  • Our open source inventory identified over 100 different open source packages used in our IT organization.
  • Management has realized that developers need the freedom to download and evaluate open source.
  • Our Enterprise Architect team has added a dozen open source packages to the "approved" list.
  • Our legal staff understands GPL, but still fears it.
  • Our IT staff has outlined what support is required for open source in production.
  • We can contribute patches that our company needs back to the open source community.

The "Embrace" Stage

In this phase companies begin to fully understand the benefits that open source brings and start to proactively consider open source technology and its benefits.

  • Our company understands what open source we use and where it is deployed.
  • Management has realized that open source can save us money on software costs, enabling us to get more done with the same budget.
  • We encourage employees to participate in open source projects as a way to develop their skills.
  • We share open source success stories within our organization.
  • We actively encourage development projects to consider open source in all their technology decisions.
  • Our legal staff can quickly assess which open source licenses are appropriate for which types of uses.
  • Depending on the open source project and where it is deployed, we use a blend of internal, community and vendor resources for support.

The "Transform" Stage

Finally, companies begin to learn that the approaches and practices of open source can help them more effectively meet their business goals.

  • We use a "community development" model within our organizations.
  • Our developers are active and visible within open source projects.
  • We've released code as open source because it furthers our business goals.
  • We recruit employees based on their expertise with key open source technologies we use.
  • We can measure savings and benefits from the use of open source technologies.
  • Our developers have an "open source first" mentality.
  • Legal sees open source as "business as usual".

Scoring:

Count the number of true statements in each section.  The section with the highest number indicates your current stage.   You may identify different areas where your company is more or less mature in its open source adoption.   Use that information to identify areas that you need to work on.

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