Bryan Deakin

Scottish Poet / Blogger / Community Activist

I am at it again ….

­­­­­­­­­­­It’s always a sad state of affairs when members seem to realise more is wrong than the people behind it.  For years now I and many Friends of a known software have stated that there is an issue arising, one that will not go away until it is admitted.  The constant reply from the current team is denial that there is an issue.  However when I was in the top position I was open about the issues and I was praised for being honest, but overnight with no changes all issues were fixed and everything is hunk dory perfect.  All is right in the world, well in the software, and the massively declining stats are expected and nothing to worry about, even though the majority are lower than when the software was first formed in 2003.  I have been vocal about this decline not due to fact that I dislike the software, as that is a lie, the software has always and will always hold special part in my heart, is it as I dislike the team, well no, I have many friends on the team that I trust, but like many friends of the software we have been vocal as we want the software to succeed.  The first step would be for the team to admit there is an issue and work with the friends who are willing to help, using the expertise available instead of thinking they know all and can fix all.

In the open source market the software is a small fish in a big pond, thinking it is larger than it truly is, punching above its own weight, refusal to spend money on advertising or even attending open source events as they cannot see the benefit.  But they are right what benefit is there in sending a team to an event full of open source developers, an event that has funders looking for the next best open source project, an event that is the event of the year for open source products.  But to re-iterate the fact we do not hate the software, we do not hate the team, what we hate is what the software is becoming.  And the first step in any recovery is be honest and accept you have an issue, the team needs to do this and accept this or an endemic failure will occur.  It has started to and its worrying that a minority of people fail to see this, the minority that can change things.

The leadership at all levels needs to look at the product life cycles, looking at how often releases are being made, and accepting that even a project that is made of volunteers needs goals and targets.  Continuing the philosophy that it will be done when it’s done and please remember we are volunteers does not encourage people to get involved, they have no incentive, looking at other open source software who have a more noticeable release schedule, it makes one wonder why more people are using that software, as they can see active development.  The leadership also needs to look at incentives for people to be on the team, something that will motivate them and thank them for doing a good job.  Years ago people would metaphorically die to be a team member, now there is no such thing, no-one is coming forward as the incentive and motivation for the project is no longer viable.

But all is ok in the software and the growing amount of former team members and general users are all worrying for nothing, but it seems more and more that the blinkers are on the team.  Working in an old adage of business and not understanding the concept of progressiveness, as the team are too scared, scared of change, scared of moving out with the status quo and scared that people like myself will be proven correct if they change.  I will not endorse the old management style, but more we see what is happening the more commonalities are arising.  Some former team members who left in the transition if they looked at current system and issues they would be rolling their eyes saying “what have they done? What have they become?”

As the team will say I am attacking the software again, once again I will state that nobody I spoke to nor do I hate the software or team, we have issues with the way it is being moved backwards, and no movement forward, this point will be constant, as any attempt to open the eyes of the team means that we are attacking them, and I for see another topic being opened stating I am attacking the team, as is now the norm when I speak out.  But when a former team member says there is an issue, the automatic response is then “join us again” many friends no longer have the motivation or time to leave, and others would not be accepted as the team are too proud and worried about discontent of someone speaking against the all is ok philosophy.

By the time the team admit there is an issue it will be too late, it’s not too late now, and the friends I spoke to are happy to help, on a basis that fits our schedules, including the contradictory  of actually spending money in advertising!

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