Self managed teams: OSS and Toyota compared

Harvard Business Review identifies unexpected similarities between Open Source Software (OSS) and the Toyota Production System

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"Corporate leaders seeking to boost growth, learning, and innovation may find the answer in a surprising place: the Linux open-source software community.

Linux is developed by an essentially volunteer, self- organizing community of thousands of programmers.

Most leaders would sell their grandmothers for workforces that collaborate as efficiently, frictionlessly, and creatively as the self-styled Linux hackers".

That is what Philip Evans and Bob Wolf say in an excellent article, Collaboration Rules, published in the Harvard Business Review July –August 2005 - The High Performance Organisation

Philip and Bob have discovered “surprising parallels between the anarchistic, caffeinated, hirsute world of Linux hackers and the disciplined, tea-sipping, clean-cut world of Toyota engineering.

Specifically, Toyota and Linux operate by rules that blend the self-organizing advantages of markets with the low transaction costs of hierarchies".

To me the whole ethos and approach of open-source software development embodies the key distinctions of bioteaming namely:

  1. Leadership: treat every team member as a leader

  2. Connectivity: connect the team members, partners and networks

  3. Execution: experiment, co-operate and learn

  4. Organisation: establish sustainable self-organisation



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