Agile has been a keyword in software development for years now. Agile methods require transparency between all stakeholders of the project, so it has become evident that Open Source is an essential companion for agile development.
When an organization gets used to the idea of open source code, thoughts on inter-organizational joint production often arise. This idea is somehow in the core of Open Source: Do we have to do this alone, how could we save money by collaborating with others? Communities build upon these questions. It is anyhow not easy to establish a community for a new open product from scratch. Luckily, very rarely it is necessary to start from scratch.
Oskari is an open source map application that has a large community of users in Finland. This community didn’t just happen on its own – it was built with determination and the confidence that the application will be useful for many in Finland. Although the Oskari community was in many ways the first of its kind in Finland, there were many places to borrow ideas and take example from. The structure of the community was derived from the Open Source product management model (made by VTT) and many other aspects were validated from the structures of well-known international Open Source communities. Valuable help for the questions around joint production was received from COSS ry. Even though Oskari-community in Finland is full of life, the true growth of the software requires international and global community of users. This is sought via OSGeo, a foundation that supports geospatial software worldwide and promotes widespread use of the software. Oskari is on its way to becoming an “official” OSGeo project and we are hoping it will open our community to users around the world.
Altogether, if you want to gain momentum for your Open Source project, build a lively community that owns the product and takes good care of it. Make use of good examples and join other related communities. Do not hesitate to think big and go global!