Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

Passing the baton: Succession planning for FOSS leadership

VM Brasseur (@vmbrasseur)
11:50am12:30pm Thursday, May 11, 2017
Location: Meeting Room 10 A/B
Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 5 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Leaders of FOSS projects, foundations, and organizations

What you'll learn

  • Understand the very real trouble we may have if we don't start succession planning for free and open source leadership
  • Explore an actionable plan for how to move forward


While sharing of and collaborating on software has been around as long as there’s been code, the open source concept and movement only came into being in the late 1990s. There are many in our community who remember a time before open source, many of whom have helped shape the philosophy, laws, governance, and policies that are the foundation of the free and open source movement we enjoy today.

But what happens when these people decide to retire? Who will carry the baton and lead the movement?

Thankfully these people are still with us, helping to craft and lead FOSS, but there are very few younger individuals among their ranks. As we look at the next horizon for FOSS, we must consider who will take us there. VM Brasseur explains why we must take the time to do succession planning for free and open source leadership while we still have these founders in our midst.

Topics include:

  • Succession planning: What it is and why we need it
  • What new leaders must know and learn
  • Steps we can take to develop the FOSS leaders of the future
Photo of VM Brasseur

VM Brasseur


VM Brasseur (aka Vicky) is a manager of technical people, projects, processes, products, and businesses. In her nearly 20 years in the tech industry, Vicky has been an analyst, programmer, product manager, software engineering manager, technical and C-level business consultant, and director of software engineering. She is a winner of the 2014 Perl White Camel Award and a winner of the 2016 O’Reilly Open Source Award. Vicky occasionally blogs, often writes, and frequently tweets at @vmbrasseur. She is also a community moderator for