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Jun 16 2021
Jun 16

Enterprise agility is one of the most commonly adopted transformation approaches which comes up along with a lot of challenges. The companies need to reshape the organizational structures, make changes in the operational models and reform the old ways of working techniques. The agile transformation includes a big shift in organizational culture and that makes an organization ponder over it or even neglect it. But eventually, organizations realize the importance of it, apply agile transformation techniques, and receive immense benefits that help them evolve and move closer towards their goals and aspirations. This article will guide you through the right approach needed towards adopting the agile transformation in your organization. 

To successfully adopt an agile transformation, you need a plan

To succeed with the agile transformation, you need to clearly understand the fact that why are you making such time and effort to adopt this transformation and what exactly you want to gain from it. It is important to have clarity upon what changes you will have to make so that the desired outcomes can be achieved by your business. For this let’s firstly, understand the importance of preparing a proper business case for adopting agile transformation at your organization. It is important to convince the decision-makers to realize the significance of approaching agility in the work culture with the right business case. Before that, go through what agile development methodology actually means.

Making business case for agile transformation

A business case explains the main objectives of the organization in regards to agile transformation. Generally, adopting agile leads to desired business outcomes but only if it is approached in the right manner. Therefore, it is essential to have some set important goals which will help in the overall growth of the company with agility. Here is an insight into the recommended goals.

Illustration showing multiple arrows forming a circle to explain agile transformation

The first and foremost goal is to meet customer commitments on time. It helps in building trust between customers and the company leading to customer satisfaction. Secondly, it is essential to maintain high-quality products and services as at times companies fail to deliver suitable services as promised to the customers. This further helps in building a good brand reputation for the company. Thirdly, one of the aims of adopting agility in an enterprise is to efficiently reduce their costs and maximize profits. Lastly, the companies expect an early return on investment with agility as by practicing traditional working methods they struggle with long delivery cycles which do not allow them to receive early return on investment. Read this complete guide on agile transformation to know more.

Now, we will get an overview of the transformation hypothesis to help us approach agility in the right way.

A step closer to agility with Transformation Hypothesis

A Transformation Hypothesis describes the real purpose behind choosing agile transformation. Along with accepting agility, companies have to be flexible enough to embrace change in various working techniques. But sometimes it might not sound comfortable for the employees as they are accustomed to working with the same old traditional techniques. So, in situations where employees aren’t confident enough and are faced with certain challenges, the companies should proactively help them to overcome such difficulties and welcome change. Below are some of the concerns which need to be resolved to strongly practice agility in your organization.

Picture showing multiple circles to describe the concerns that are faced while practicing enterprise agility

Culture change isn’t the only solution 

It is observed that adopting agility brings a big shift in the work culture of an organization, so we assume that the culture change alone will look after all the necessary steps and efforts required to successfully implement such a transformation within the company. But in reality, it isn’t so. There is also a need for proper guidance in forming cross-functional teams which have various functional expertise to increase innovation in products and services. To succeed with agility, the company will have to look upon various factors, apart from considering culture as the only means to improve agility.  

Process training alone cannot bring agility

We get to see that employees are given training from coaches to learn new methods and techniques, also expecting them to be capable enough to face any challenges which they witness while practicing agility. But the problem here is, it is nearly impossible to handle technical, governance, and organizational issues by employees with the process education obtained during the training sessions. Such issues need to be resolved by providing essential support to the company employees to tackle such hard situations.

Need for a right ecosystem

To reach the desired level of agility, there is a need for an ecosystem that facilitates continuous improvement to achieve a company’s agility goals and objectives. If a company fails to build the right ecosystem, it will be challenging to sustain agility in an organization for better adaptability and resilience.

Strategize plans according to the size of the organization

One has to strategize plans depending on the size of the organization to sustain agility. For example, the strategy which you will use for transforming a single team will certainly differ from the strategy you plan for a large-sized company having 500 or more employees. In the same manner, if you are leading a group of five to seven people, sending them to training sessions might be sufficient. But if you lead 1000 employees, the planning and arrangement must be executed on a much different level. So, it justifies the fact that the size of the organization is to be considered while adopting agility.

Overcome the challenge of dependency 

Dependencies can bring hurdles in successfully attaining agility in organizations. When we have small teams, it is easier to manage dependencies but if we have multiple teams working towards the same goal, it becomes very difficult to handle inter-team communication and collaboration. So, removing dependencies shall be one of the primary tasks. For smooth delivery of products and services, it is very essential to strategize plans to overcome dependencies and develop agility in an organization.

Benefits achieved by adopting agile transformation

Many organizations have received benefits from practicing agile transformation in recent years. They need to put the right agile transformation approach to attain the desired business outcomes with this transformation. The agility in enterprises allows flexibility to adapt new organizational practices and techniques leading to maximization of business value. 

Moving forward, we will discuss some of the benefits which are attained by companies adopting agile transformation in their business. 

Picture formed by various circles describing the benefits of agile transformation

Maximise customer satisfaction

With agility, companies mainly focus on adding value to the customer experience by understanding their requirements and making early delivery of products and services. It helps in evolving customer satisfaction by prioritizing customer feedback to improve the product quality as per their expectations. Enterprise agility allows employees to provide services with expertise, proper collaboration among various teams, and transparency which leads to an increase in customer satisfaction.

Here is an example of Asia Pacific Telco, which adopted an agile operating model to meet customer needs and was successful in increasing customer satisfaction by implementing new ideas and techniques into their work process. Below is the diagram showing the transformation shift towards a positive direction leading to a great customer experience.

Illustration showing triangles formed by small circles to explain benefits of agile transformationSource: McKinsey & Company

Increase employee engagement

Adopting agility facilitates employees the ability to use their creativity to produce better work performance and results. It gives them a sense of ownership to take all the necessary decisions to improve their work productivity and help them feel valued in the workplace. Such flexibility helps in increasing employee engagement to a great extent also empowering companies to reach their desired goals and ambitions. For instance, read how you can build a diverse and inclusive team by leveraging agile techniques.

Raising operational performance

Agility helps in providing various business models to the organizations which further helps in improving the operational performance according to the desired expectations. Due to this agile transformation, the companies are availed with various approaches which help in increasing the speed of company decision making and product development. The target achievement rate can be seen improving remarkably, by the agile companies which prove to be one of the major achievements of a progressing enterprise. 

Growing competence towards changing priorities 

With agility, a behavioral transformation takes place among the employees to reach their highest potential in embracing change and innovation. They learn to handle the changing priorities within the organization in the form of resources re-location to a team who needs support and assistance to survive the challenges which come along with agility. They get comfortable with the changes that take place in their work process and techniques, accepting change for better company growth. 

Enhance project visibility

Project visibility provides a clear vision of a project performance which includes allocating resources, potential risks, and proper distribution of responsibilities. Increased visibility ensures everyone involved in the project understands the objective of the project and their role in meeting the business goals and aspirations. It gives clarity to stakeholders regarding the real-time status of the project. Agility helps in changing any project plan or initiative following customer or stakeholder needs and requirements for better project performance. For instance, read how imbibing agile documentation processes helps improve project management.

Improving Business and IT alignment

Business IT alignment can be regarded as a business strategy that helps in achieving the business objectives leading to improved financial performance. This alignment is necessary to adapt to the constant change in the company and environment due to agility. Therefore, both business agility and business-IT alignment should go hand in hand to maintain company growth and development. For instance, read how the inclusion of agile processes to the testing phases of software development can be immensely beneficial.

Lastly, the most important benefit which we witnessed recently by adopting the agile transformation is the flexibility of working at our convenience during the pandemic of COVID 19. Due to this pandemic, the organizations felt the need for agile transformation rather than sticking to the old traditional transformation techniques which created hurdles in the proper functioning of their business. According to McKinsey’s research with Harvard Business School during COVID-19, agile companies have received better results in comparison to non-agile companies.

Graphical representation of the agile companies' improving performance post COVID 19 crisisSource: McKinsey & Company

Companies sharing their successful journeys with agile transformation

With agility, many organizations have achieved immense success leading their business towards their set goals. Here are some of the companies sharing their success stories which can act as a motivation for everyone to move towards agile transformation. 

Ericsson

Ericsson aimed at improving the delivery of products within the stipulated time leading to an increase in customer satisfaction. To achieve this target, they adopted agility in 2008. They implemented cross-functional teams which could focus on specific projects along with building effective communication across several teams. Instead of individual targets, each team worked towards both organizational and group goals to receive desired results. After making such changes with the help of agile transformation, Ericsson could successfully achieve speedy development, faster customer feedback, and generate higher revenue according to desired company standards. 

Bank of America

In late 2012, the agile transformation in global markets at Bank of America began. Merrill Lynch, the director of global markets technology at the Bank of America expressed that their main aim was to improve the time to deliver better company solutions and also reduce key person dependencies across his technology team. They adopted Scrum (a specific Agile methodology) also providing an environment to the employees where they could experiment by taking risks to bring exceptional work results. The cross-functional team formation too was encouraged to turn business ideas into working products for achieving company targets. After a year of consistent efforts, they finally succeeded in meeting their business goals with agility.

LEGO 

LEGO attained success by adopting agile transformation in early 2018. They adopted this approach in their two large digital departments. After such adoption, they witnessed various improvements in several areas like market engagement, digitalization, and reduction in project delivery time. This further brought a sense of motivation and satisfaction among the employees. So, with this transformation, LEGO could set a successful journey of embracing change. 

To get more insight on a company's smooth agile transformation, you can go through this book-   “Agile Transformation: A Brief Story of How an Entertainment Company Developed New Capabilities and Unlocked Business Agility to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Change” which will give you an idea about a company in the entertainment industry who got excellent results by adopting agility in its work culture. This will be a good read.

Here is a video presented by Scrum Alliance about IBM’s wonderful experience of learning, implementing, and overcoming challenges with agile transformation. Without any further wait, take a look at their exciting agile transformation journey.

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Final thoughts

Agility is an approach to drive performance and provide endless innovation to organizations. Adopting this transformation can break the old traditional working methods enabling to achieve tremendous growth and advancement in business. So, the organizations will have to step out of their comfort and strive for something new which can deliver exceptional business outcomes.

May 28 2021
May 28

Malcom Forbes, the publisher of Forbes Magazine once said, “Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” This quote gives us a very strong message that diversity in ideas and opinions can work for the benefit of the society at large. So, when we talk about diversity in open source, we get to see a similar scenario, where people are encouraged regardless of their gender, race, age, class or nationality to express their ideas, innovations and skill sets in a single platform to enhance better performance and results in their respective careers. 

Here, I would like to draw your attention towards some of the insights of this vast topic i.e. diversity in open source. With the help of this article, I would like to give you an idea about the community contribution towards open source followed by the various challenges encountered by the community in building a platform welcoming diversity.

Let’s begin by discussing the important role of community in open source.

Power of Community in Open Source

Open source gives you the opportunity to bring up your unique ideas and innovations independently in front of the whole world. You get full freedom to share your skills regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, exceptionalities or geographical area and so on. In this manner, the open-source community is built up by the contributions made by people from every nook and corner of the world. Here, we will have to understand the fact that community can be regarded as the backbone of open source. With the help of the community, one can strengthen the open source ecosystem by active participation and contribution.

Now, let us get a better understanding about the open source community with the help of a contributor funnel created by @MikeMcQuaid below:

Three icons on right representing people, horn and tools, and a down arrow mark on left explaining the diversity, equity and inclusion in open source  Source: Open Source Guides

The above diagram shows three categories of participants in the open source community. Like the users, contributors and maintainers. These participants play an important role in the progress of the open source community. You will be surprised to know that every user can become a potential maintainer. It is possible by making the experience of each stage of the category easy and hassle free which indeed will encourage every user to take more responsibility and become an active maintainer of the community. 

Here, the question which now comes is, how can you maintain a healthy community? Let me give you an idea of how you possibly can build up a trust-worthy community which will contribute with best endeavour. So, the first and foremost thing to do is, welcome the participants and make them feel valued in the community. After they step in, give them clarity about your work with the help of a README which will provide them full transparency regarding your project. As documenting everything about your project with a README is always a must for better understanding which is also supported by GitHub’s 2017 Open Source Survey. Thereafter, you can let the participants start their contributions by handling simple issues which will boost up their confidence and help them get more involved at work. This further gives you a chance to share the ownership of your project with them making them feel more accepted in the community. While doing that if anyone comes up with any queries, you should always be ready to answer them at the earliest. 

Your community can be a great place for the contributors to learn from each other’s experiences and expertise. Therefore, it is your responsibility to expand your community by sustaining the right people and letting go of the ones who unnecessarily create a toxic environment for everyone. You should stand strong for your community giving equal value to everyone’s opinion and ideas. In this way, you can build a prosperous and healthy community for all. 

What’s next? Let’s now take a look at some of the tweets supporting community contributions to open source.

Contributing to open source is easier for some than others. There’s a lot of fear of being yelled at for not doing something right or just not fitting in. (…) By giving contributors a place to contribute with very low technical proficiency (documentation, web content markdown, etc) you can greatly reduce those concerns. — @mikeal, “Growing a contributor base in modern open source

The truth is that having a supportive community is key. I’d never be able to do this work without the help of my colleagues, friendly internet strangers, and chatty IRC channels. (…) Don’t settle for less. Don’t settle for assholes. — @okdistribute, “How to Run a FOSS Project

While it’s important to create a sense of belonging for the members of an open source community, it is equally important to encourage diverse minds to be a part of the community and become more and more inclusive. Let’s look at a research report conducted by the World Economic Forum that highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion at workplace. This report explains that when all the employees, managers and the entire organization work under well managed diverse teams, they tend to perform better than homogeneous teams in terms of their usual productivity. Therefore, the practice of diversity, equity and inclusion should be encouraged by the open source community too. This can be seen in the below diagram:

Graphical representation with curves explaining diversity and inclusion at workplaceSource: World Economic Forum

Challenges while Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Open Source Communities

In the past few years, the open source community has witnessed some challenges while promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Let us discuss today some of the most important challenges by taking help of some genuine survey reports.

Not enough contributions from female and non-binary coders

According to a 2017 GitHub open source survey, 95% of contributors of open source projects were male, whereas only 3% of contributors were reported to be female(1% defined as non-binary). The US Bureau of Labor Data says that only 21.2% of professional developers are female.  

Here comes a diagram from 2019 DigitalOcean developer survey to show that the participation of male in open source is comparatively more than female:

Table explaining diversity, equity and inclusion in open sourceSource: DigitalOcean

Next, let’s look at another diagram where the participation of young developers, both male and female are shown in comparison to older generations of contributors regarding their experience in open-source.

Table explaining diversity, equity and inclusion in open sourceSource: DigitalOcean

From the above diagram we can understand the fact that when the younger generation both male and female join the open-source community, they don’t find any hurdles in terms of guidance or required resources. But as we know that the older generation of contributors mainly comprises of male due to gender diversity. So, they do not preferably contribute to the change needed in the community towards gender inequality. As a result, the young female contributors experience injustice and are deprived of opportunities. Therefore, the cycle of male preference in open-source continues.

The sad state of women in a male-dominated world

To get a deeper understanding about the reasons for lack of diversity in open source, let us look into another seminar paper which was written as a part of the lecture Free and Open Technologies, held by Christoph Derndorfer and Lukas F. Lang at TU Wien, Austria, during the winter term 2019/2020. This seminar paper talks about a case, Katie Bouman. 

In April 2019, the first visualization of the black hole was revealed. After this, another picture went viral which was of a young female computer scientist, named Katie Bouman. She is a postdoctoral fellow at MIT and a member of the team running Event Horizon Telescope, contributing with her algorithm to capture this image. Her team consisted of 200 researchers. But solely, Bouman was made the face of the black hole project by the media. Bouman tried to clarify this confusion but was made a role model as she was a woman working in a men-dominated field. On the other side she received immense hatred and even her Wikipedia page was said to be deleted. So, with this case you get an idea about the diversity problem in open-source.

Women need to be empowered within open source communities 

Then we have one more report named “Towards a More Gender-inclusive Open Source Community” published by the Institute of Development Studies at the (DIAL) Digital Impact Alliance. It brings light into the circumstances of gender diversity. This paper shows how women can be supported and an inclusive community can be built.

This report says that there has to be some changes in facilities for women to empower them to contribute actively in open-source. Let us see how can it be done:

  • Resources: In order to excel in one’s career aspirations, one should be given the right amount of resources which can be used to reach the desired goals. Similarly, talking about women in open source, they should also be provided with the opportunity of learning various skills required to enhance their knowledge and contributions. They should be given a friendly working atmosphere to come up with their ideas and plans in the community.
  • Institutions: This comprises the different social environment one gets in life in the form of family, educational institutions and the society at large. It is usually seen that a woman is less likely to get the necessary support from her family in terms of education and other facilities. Growing up when they want to pursue their career and also look after their family life, they are stopped from doing so and are left to take tough decisions of choosing one over another. Therefore, a change in the society’s perception is needed to encourage women to manage their both family and career with dignity and respect.
  • Agency: This comprises the ability of a woman to become a good leader and a decision maker. When it comes to open source, there is less encouragement towards women to prove their capabilities compared to men. So, such injustice has to be abolished for equal and fair chances.

As a part of the above mentioned report, one interview was conducted among women who were contributors working  as programmers and multi-taskers. It’s definitely high to empower and encourage more women to participate in open source ecosystem going by the number of women who were in the open source projects at the time of interview.

Table showing number of women in open source communitiesOpen source organisations and communities in which women contributors were active at the time of interview | Source: DIAL

Time, money, and recruitment from demographically homogeneous communities are obstacles too

In a report by GitHub, in association with The Case Foundation, Nadia Eghbal states that one of the reasons why there is a lack of diversity in the open-source community compared to the technology sector, is because the open-source contributors need time and money to contribute initially which at times can be very difficult. The open source ecosystem must be enhanced by the inclusion of diversity, believes Lorena Mesa, an engineer at GitHub and the Director and Vice-Chair Elect of the Python Software Foundation. Justin W. Flory, a member of the RIT LibreCorps and UNICEF, an open source initiative said that the early leaders of OSS recruited contributors from homogeneous communities leading to diversity issues which can be seen till the present. He further stated, “I look at what we're going through now in this emergency of emphasis on communities, on diversity inclusion, and I feel like there is no other way to describe it then as a feminist movement in free software.” Learn how good leadership and inclusion within the open source communities can make a world of difference.

Neverending myths about open source have to vanish

Now, a contribution is made by Nithya A. Ruff, the Head of Comcast’s Open Source Program Office about some misconceptions which people have about open-source. So, here it goes. The first misconception is that you need to be a programmer in order to join the open source community. But it isn’t true. Open-source is also a platform for various other industries other than technology. The second myth is that the culture and norms of the open source community is easy to navigate. But in reality it isn’t so. You will find a lot of feedback where the new contributors reveal that they don’t get the necessary co-operations from the community members. The third misunderstanding is about the fact that you can’t be a casual contributor but you rather have to work under an open-source project for your entire life-time. But the truth is, you can work according to your convenience and be a short time contributor.

Here are few tweets supporting the above discussions:

Tweet showing a person's face on left and text on rightTweet showing a person's face on left and text on right


So, the above myths can also be termed as challenges towards a more diverse open-source community. Therefore, necessary steps should be taken to overcome these adversities.

Open source meritocracy and the significance of diversity and inclusion

Now let’s also look into some of the information depicting the truth about inequality and favouritism within the open-source community. Women were seen compromising their health when in the year 2015, a heart transplant was available to only 20% of women compared to 80% of men. Apple launched its first Health Tracking App in 2014 which omitted a woman’s menstrual cycle that should have been one of the major concerns regarding a woman’s health and wellness. Amazon was seen removing its AI recruiting tool which was designed to select applicants based on resumes submitted to the company over a 10 years time period that mostly came from men.  

So, apart from the above mentioned challenges of diversity in open-source, you will find many other such discriminations based on socioeconomic status, nationality and so on. In cases like this a question comes to my mind, what if meritocracy was practiced in open source? It could help the community in finding the right participants with merit, intelligence, creativity and skills who were truly deserving. With meritocracy, the open-source could experience diversity, equity and inclusion within the community. This ideology is also supported by huge companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix. More on the impact of large companies on open source here.

Meritocracy does not consider the reality that tech does not operate on a level playing field. — Emma Erwin and Larissa Shapiro, Mozilla.

Statistics show that 78% of companies run all of their businesses with open source software. So, looking at the ratio, it is a must that all the companies working in open source software should follow the rules and regulations and include contributors encouraging meritocracy within their community. If not all, but some are taking initiatives in giving opportunities to the people around the globe looking forward to being a part of open-source. Here is an example: Outreachy is a program which organises a three month paid internship with free and open source software projects for people who experience favouritism and are under-represented  in the technical industry where they are living. 

After discussing the challenges of the open source community, let’s now peep into the topic, ‘Code of Conduct’ which cannot be avoided. 

Is Code of Conduct Enhancing Diversity in Open Source?

Code of conduct can be a medium of communication among the contributors of the open source community. It helps people to know about the set rules, regulations and practices that are to be followed in order to maintain the professional conduct of an organization. 

For open source projects, The Contributor Covenant was created by Coraline Ada Ehmke who is a software developer and an open-source advocate. This contributor covenant works for safeguarding the rights of the members of the community from experiencing misbehaviour and ill treatment. So, it is followed by prominent companies like Apple, Google, Salesforce, Linux, Creative Commons and many open-source projects as well. It has become an essential part of the open source community. We have with us an example where Eric S. Raymond, one of the founders of the Open Source Initiative was banned for violating the code of conduct by his misbehaviour. But alone CoC can’t stop discrimination happening in the field of diversity in open source. There is a need for better authority and management which can strictly look after the matter. 

Wonderful Stories from Open Source Communities Embracing Diversity

The Open source community can be termed as a social movement which is diverse. It is a community model which is designed to help aspiring people contribute to the world their ideas, innovations and unique talents. Here we have some examples of extraordinary open source contributors:

1. Drupal

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are valued by Drupal as there is a separate team to monitor their active participation and implementation. Drupal celebrates the pride month every year by changing its logo on social media platforms. This is observed inorder to thank the members of Drupal for welcoming and supporting LGBTQ+ into their community.

logo of Drupal Association with drop shaped icon on left

When the world was once again reminded, through the George Floyd incident, that the 21st century still witnesses the violent incidents of racism, the Drupal Community joined hands in raising its voice against such brutal attacks. The statement given by Drupal is as follows:

(We stand with people across the globe in condemning racism, racist behavior and all abuses of power. We grieve for the black community, which has endured another unspeakable tragedy in a long history of injustice)

Drupal believes in the ideology of getting better quality results or performance out of diverse working groups in the community. The Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team aims at increasing the contributions to the Drupal projects by the people who are underrepresented or devalued in the Drupal community.

logo of Drupal Diversity and Inclusion contribution team in the shape of a droplet in blue

The diversity problem was handled by Drupal in a very smart way, by introducing Drupal conferences and workshops. These platforms gave exposure to the underrepresented groups to speak and open up their views, perceptions and ideas to a larger audience increasing their confidence level. A speaker training workshop was hosted on September 21 and 28, 2019 with Jill Binder by the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Group to inspire people around the world. 

The Community Working Group(CWG)  also conducts workshops for the community leaders to provide them the necessary tools, resources and knowledge to build a friendly and flourishing community. To get a better idea of conducting successful conferences, CWG follows feedback from past workshops like Teamwork and Leadership workshop conducted at DrupalCon Nashville. Such workshops are of two days duration. The first day was spent by discussing the needs or necessities and challenges faced by the community members. It was followed by the discussion of utilizing the nudges appropriately and building a positive environment within the community. Then the second day, they talked about emotional intelligence and finding ways to resolve conflicts. There was also a case study challenge, where various groups were assigned tasks of resolving conflicts which were seen in Drupal or other open-source communities. These workshops proved to be beneficial for the community members. 

Drupal encourages healthy conversations to maintain a positive ambience within the community. Even though people try to maintain a peaceful environment, sometimes due to differences in opinions people tend to hurt each other’s feelings. To resolve this issue, an idea was discussed at a Community Working Group (CWG) workshop at DrupalCon Seattle. For the Drupal community, the CWG Community Health team has been working on a communication initiative which comprises a series of de-escalation templates labeled as “Nudges”.

Five icons attached to semicircle representing diversity and inclusion in Drupal


There are five nudges which the community members can utilize when they come across any such uncomfortable circumstances within the Drupal community. Every nudge gives a clarity about why a certain comment towards a member can be harmful and it also provides some relevant links like the Code of Conduct and Values and Principles.

Below are the nudges. Take a look:

  • Inclusive language (gendered terms): Use of gendered language is prohibited. Such language impacts the community negatively as it encourages gender inequality within the community.
  • Inclusive language (ableist terms): Use of  ableist language can hurt the sentiment of people with disabilities. Therefore, one is abstained from using such language within the community.
  • Gatekeeping knowledge: When a community member expects a new community member to know everything about the project without giving the required guidance and questions his/her contributions and ideas, then this nudge can be used. The new contributor shall be supported by helping them learn the necessary concept and topic.
  • Cultural differences: The members coming from different backgrounds, speaking a culturally specific language are undervalued for their contribution by the other members as they are unable to speak the global language common for all. While translating one has to be very careful as expressing something exactly the same in a different language might at times sound rude and uncomfortable.
  • Escalating emotions: Every community demands mutual understanding and proper communication inorder to build a healthy environment for all. So, while working together every member should be given equal amount of respect and dignity without any discrimination. The Drupal community further takes care by providing resources to the members at the time of conflict.

Give a look at what Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, wants to share about gender and geographic diversity statistics of the recent years. It is as follows:

Gender Diversity’s position was closely observed by Dries Buytaert as it is one of the biggest challenges of the open-source community. A slight progress was seen in terms of contribution but still wasn’t enough to be celebrated as a victory of gender equality. Let’s take a look below:

Bar graph with blue, green, and black vertical bars showing statistics on contribution by different genders of drupal communitySource: Dries Buytaert's Blog

Here we have the top 20 countries from which contributions are made in Drupal. The below diagram says it all:

Bar graph with blue, green, and black vertical bars showing statistics on contribution by different countries for drupalSource: Dries Buytaert's Blog

With the above explanations, we get to know that the efforts are made to improve gender and geographic diversity. But it isn’t enough. Therefore, better practices and strategies have to be made in order to reach the desired results. Learn more about Drupal's role in encouraging diversity and inclusion here.

2. Red Hat

Red Hat is one of the leading open source provider companies which actively takes initiative in building an open source community filled with innovation and productivity of better technology. They believe in the collective contribution of every skilled participant irrespective of gender, race, class or nationality within the community. One of the initiatives it took to encourage diversity was by including Women in Open Source Community Award in 2015. This ceremony was organized to appreciate and honor women for their outstanding contribution towards the open source community.  

Red Hat observed a very sensitive matter of using inappropriate language by software programmers which at times affected the sentiment of some participants. The usage of terminology like ‘master’ or ‘slave’ was the major concern. Chris Wright, chief technology officer at Red Hat confirms that Red Hat is building a team to examine its documentation, code and content to find out the improper language and replace it with the right ones. Some of the changes are as follows:

  • Master branch will be renamed as ‘main branch’
  • Whitelist to be renamed as ‘allowlist’
  • Blacklist to be changed to ‘denylist’

3. Mozilla

Mozilla is one of the communities who is open and easily accessible to everyone looking for meaningful contributions towards the vast open source community who is constantly seeking growth. Diversity has been one of the interests of this community and they have always taken the necessary steps towards it. 

In 2018, the code review process was made equal for all without any gender bias by this community. To improve diversity within their staff they published a blogpost in the year 2019. Here is the progress they made:

  • There was an increase of women in technical roles from 13.2 percent to 17.4 percent in their community.
  • Out of all people managers, the women representation has increased from 36.0 percent to 39.1 percent and in terms of executive leadership roles, the graph has raised from 33.3 percent to 41.2 percent within December 2018.
  • The representation of minorities rose from 6.9 percent to 7.9 percent in 2018, but the target of 8.9 percent couldn’t be achieved.
  • From underrepresented minority groups, Mozilla hired 12.4 percent people and also a rise in people of colour from 35.2 percent (2017) to 36.2 percent (2018).

In cooperation with Kubernetes and companies like Red Hat, Mozilla gives importance to the execution of codes of conduct so that proper communication and professional conduct can be maintained within the people of diverse nature. Most importantly, it raises funds for open source projects.

4. The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation focuses on broadening the practice of diversity and inclusion, building a more welcoming space for people from diverse backgrounds and expertise. This association commits towards constructing a bias free environment by taking few initiatives as follows:

  • Initiative of Inclusive Naming
  • Advancing diversity and inclusion in Software Engineering
  • Availability of free online courses
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Events
  • Live Mentorship Series
  • LiFT Scholarships

Out of all these, advancing diversity and inclusion in Software Engineering is something that can catch one’s attention. The Linux Foundation announced the Software Developer Diversity and Inclusion (SDDI) project on 26th October 2020. Through SDDI, exploration and utilization of best research procedures, the diversity and inclusion in software engineering could be increased.

5. The Apache Software Foundation

The Apache Software Foundation started a project named Apache Diversity and Inclusion with the mission of constructing a community valuing diversity and inclusion giving exposure to a wide group of people seeking career path/ professional advancement.

homepage of Apache diversity showing textual information on their mission and vision for encouraging diversity and inclusion in their project development works


6. The Academy Software Foundation

The Academy Software Foundation stands against the injustice and inequality happening in the open-source community. It aims at removing all the barriers which creates hurdles in the process of growth and development of potential contributors all over the world.

To set your basics right and make your open source project more diverse and inclusive, Open Source Diversity is a good place to start. From identifying projects which support underrepresented groups like WikiProject Women in Red (for increasing the women representation in Wikipedia) to finding mentorship programs like Write/Speak/Code (visibility for women and non-binary coders through thought leadership), Open Source Diversity has it all!

Conclusion

To completely abolish the challenges of diversity, equity and inclusion in the open-source community is not easy. But there is no end to consistent effort and endeavor. So, it is important to be fully aware of the situation and work towards the collective goal as a team around the world. Therefore, let’s never forget, ‘Diversity leads to Prosperity’. 

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web