Open Sourcing Our Open Source Policy

Why Github is for more than just code

Posted by Holger Reinhardt    on September 15, 2019 in Development tagged with CTO, Culture

One of the challenges every new CTO finds itself in the beginning of his or her journey is the need to be able to formulate a somewhat coherent policy on all things technical (and sometimes even non-technical topics). The problem is that while it is easy to find folks sharing solutions to almost every technical problem, it is much harder to find out about what policies other companies are using. Which is kind of strange, given that policies - in the end - are just text. And what is code? It is just text too. And we certainly know how to deal with text at a massive scale and collaboratively.

Yet I always encounter tech companies where (tech) policies are obscured in Microsoft Word or hidden in Power Point or - horror - buried in Sharepoint sites. If there is any versioning it is through file endings. Trying to see the history of the policy and changes over time - Forgetaboutit! Why do we treat the policies governing our work with less attention and professionalism than our work itself?

Like probably most engineers I never really questioned it, until I attended the very inspiring talk Pull requests are not just for code anymore at OSCON 2015. Ever since I have seen and treated policies with the same professionalism like I treat code. Back as CTO @ Haufe I wrote about treating our Content As Code.

So it should not be too surprising that I open sourced the Haufe OSS Policy back then and now forked a version as our Adello OSS Policy. And maybe at some point in near future we can find, review and collaborate on engineering policies in the same way as we do with our code. (And some new CTO somewhere can build on the work of other CTOs before him instead of having to reinvent the wheel.)