Recently the Mautic community shared an incredibly important blog post on their site. I’d recommend you read the full post for yourself but I will give you the summarized version here to make it easier for you. Here’s the lowdown: Mautic community has grown super fast in the past 2 years. When the organization and leadership team were initially formed there wasn’t much of a community (as you would expect). This meant an inordinate amount of work was done by a few people. Again, this isn’t a problem, it’s how everything starts in the beginning.
Mautic began with only a handful of dedicated individuals, most working together during the day and also contributing to Mautic’s open source platform every chance they had. Today, the Mautic community has grown significantly since those early days but the leadership hasn’t necessarily changed at the same pace to reflect the same rapidity of growth.
The most recent blog post shared in the Mautic community was a call for leadership volunteers. There was a call for a series of changes to be made to the teams, organization, and release processes. All of these changes need to be made so the Mautic community might be better represented in the leadership team.
The reason for this change
You may be wondering why this change matters. What makes this governance model so important and why should you care. If it’s not immediately evident the true purpose of the Mautic leadership teams is to distribute power to as many strong, capable, community volunteers as possible. Mautic believes the best decisions can be made for the largest group of people when the leadership represents those diverse people and their interests. When one company is more represented than another company the open source community and it’s direction may be suspected of defining a path forward skewed too heavily towards one particular viewpoint.
The Mautic community rightly recognized this situation and have decided now is the appropriate time to make changes to the leadership to better represent our strong and growing community of volunteers. Personally I find this every exciting. This announcement demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our contributors. We have grown as a community to the point where the vision for our future is shared. I find it exciting because the dreams and ideals I envisioned for Mautic are no longer held alone.
The benefits of open source
And yet even that reason (distributed representation) doesn’t necessarily take into full account the underlying motivation for changing leadership structures and empowering volunteers. The underlying premise which sets the foundation, or belief, that distributed representative control is better begins with open source. Open source has long been proclaimed the winner in the software world. Companies of all size and scale now implement open source software at all layers of their infrastructure (software stack).
More than 90% of all software either contains open source components or is comprised completely of open source.
A large number of these companies would also seek to share their software as open source in an attempt to harness the values and benefits of open source communities. But, these corporations hope to see value without accepting the full definition of open source.
I recently read an amazing article about the Magento community and how they changed their open source approach to increase community contributions. As I read the post I discovered many similarities to Mautic’s own journey (As I expected I would; my friendships within the leadership circle of Magento kept me fairly well-informed as things unfolded over the years.). Here’s the intro snippet to the article, which I believe summarizes the previous paragraph:
The theory of open source is community-driven development…Most open source projects actually attract very little community. As much as a project like Linux or Kubernetes attracts deep developer involvement, most open source projects toil away in obscurity, the labor of love of a single developer. For commercial open source projects that do see significant contributions, like MongoDB or Red Hat’s JBoss, virtually all of those contributions come from developers on a single company’s payroll – Source
This lack of distributed decision-making, and missing community contribution at the leadership level causes many of these smaller open source communities to not achieve the stratospheric success otherwise possible. (Interested in what I mean by this definition of success? I lean heavily on the influences of Jim Collins, shared in books such as Built to Last.)
I believe the only true and right way to build a proper open source community is with a strong, shared vision held passionately by a diverse, equality-driven tribe of leaders. There’s wisdom in a multitude of counselors as the timeless proverb states.
Mautic understands the value of open source
Thankfully, Mautic is not like many other open source projects. We are building a community with this focus and concept in mind. We have set lofty goals and laid a framework to help us achieve them. This improvement to the leadership process is the next step in our journey to success. We believe we are building something to last. We believe as another old proverb states:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Mautic has always had the right motivation and goal as a community. Our leadership even in the early days recognized that we needed to go fast to establish ourselves and to demonstrate to the world there was something truly unique, truly special in Mautic. And now we have reached our first of many milestones, we shift to going the distance. Mautic is intent on going far. And we are going far together.
This new leadership and organizational structure proves this point perfectly. If you haven’t yet taken the time to read the post, or haven’t considered the role you might consider playing in Mautic’s future I would urge you to take a moment and contemplate the possibilities. Your unique skills, special talent, and incredible gifts when shared in community allow you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Find that sense of satisfaction and personal fulfillment by seizing the opportunity to become an influential part of something changing our world today.