The Science of Open Source Community Management

Location: Portland Ballroom
Average rating: ****.
(4.23, 43 ratings)

An open source community depends on its capacity to attract people and the efficiency with which it can harness their energy to create great software. While a compelling mission or killer product can be helpful, effective communities must be responsive and efficient in managing the diverse needs and demands of its members.

Combining his experience with theories of collaboration and negotiation developed at Harvard and his work in data analytics in the open government space David will outline how better metrics combined with skills, tools and processes can drive faster and better software development while reducing the number of headaches and fights. There will always be some art to managing people, but there can be a lot more science – the use of proven, measurable processes – in how we manage our communities.

Photo of David Eaves

David Eaves

Eaves Consulting

David Eaves is an expert in negotiation, open innovation and public policy. As a consultant David advises several governments on open government and open data. He drafted the City of Vancouver’s Open Motion which helped both launch the world’s second municipal Open Data portal (after Washington DC) and rewrite procurement rules to enable the adoption of Open Source software. David has also served as the Director of the Code for America Institute and authored After the Collapse: The Future of Open Government and the Civil Service, a chapter in the O’Reilly book “Open Government”.

An expert in collaboration David also advises companies, non-profits and open source communities on managing critical relationships. Working with Mozilla he uses data and negotiation theory to them better understand their contributors. He trained Greenpeace’s climate change activists on negotiating to help them move from protest to results. And he served as an adviser during the negotiation of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – an agreement between the 13 major Environmental groups and largest forestry companies in Canada that has changed how environmentalists and industry work together.

David publishes and speaks regularly on open government, open data, collaboration and open innovation. He studied history at Queen’s and International Relations at Oxford. When not traveling he lives in Vancouver, BC, blogs regularly at and can be found at @daeaves.

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Picture of Alex Martelli
Alex Martelli
07/19/2012 2:17am PDT

I didn’t get the sense that the case for “science” (vs “art”) in community management was made decisively—Human Being 2.0 not being released yet I’m still doubtful about that!

Picture of Shane Curcuru
Shane Curcuru
07/17/2012 3:29pm PDT

Have you worked with some of the academics who’ve done long-term research into interactions within open source communities?

The topic of helping open source communities understand how to make it simpler for respectful newcomers to make an actual impact in the project is critical. Likewise, the truism that things happen because people actually do them is important: how do you help a community actually get code checked in and running, while still ensuring community governance is run fairly and in a long-term, sustainable manner?

Looking forward to it!


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