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  • 7. The Professional Open Source Model
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In the form of a diagram POSS model looks like this:

Notice that the POSS model includes all the features of the proprietary model and the open source model. Notice also that the POSS company model mirrors the Bee Keeper model above.
The important points from this diagram are:

  • The closest ties between the POSS company and the community are through the Engineering (includes development and quality assurance) and Product Management (PM) groups. This is a natural extension of the open source model diagram (see above). These roles are 'honey-focused'. There are interactions between other departments of the POSS company and the community but they do not happen on the daily and hourly basis that exists within engineering and PM. As we shall see later the interaction between the engineering and PM groups and the community is a good deal more dynamic and frequent than is implied in this diagram.
  • In the POSS model the roles of Engineering and PM become much closer aligned to each other because between them they are sharing the role of the project administrators of the open source model. PM no longer exists in a buffer zone between Engineering and the consumers. In fact the engineers usually have more routine contact with the community than the product managers do.
  • Notice that the roles of Engineering and Product Management are significantly different  compared to the proprietary model. In the POSS model the engineers have continual, direct communication with the community (open source consumers). In the proprietary model direct contact between Engineering and the consumers is not a major part of the model (an understatement).
  • The Sales, Marketing, Support, and Services departments are market-focused. Their roles are oriented towards the customers and are involved in an ongoing program of creating a 'whole product' around the software and getting it to market.
  • There often exists a community liaison role within the POSS company whose job it is to focus on community growth and satisfaction.
  • Note that, at high level, the roles of the Sales, Marketing, Support, and Services departments are very similar between the POSS and proprietary models. This is because they are focused on the 'whole product' aspect of the model. A prospective customer should not have to learn about open source in order to become a customer of a POSS company. For example I do not need to know how honey or maple syrup is made in order to buy either of them. The POSS company sales and marketing materials should neither hide their open source model nor require understanding of it by the market. Although the role of marketing is not fundamentally different in this model the strategies, tactics, and techniques used to market professional open source are different primarily because:
    • A mass marketing approach is used instead of a high-touch, expensive enterprise approach
    • A prospective customer's transition from the marketing domain to the sales team occurs significantly later in their experience.
  • Engineering and Product Management are involved in both aspects of the model. Their roles in the 'Go To Market' program are not significantly different from the corresponding roles within a proprietary organization.
  • The Go To Market program is highly inefficient if it has to react to the contents of the software after it is done. That is to say the participants in the Go To Market program need to involved (if only passively) in the creation of the software to avoid significant delays in creating the 'whole product'.

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2 Comments

  1. I think there is an error in the diagram. Shouldn't it be Professional Open Source Company instead of Propietary Open Source Company?

  2. Yes, it should, thanks. I changed the diagram.