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Archimedes’ Principle

Groundhog protecting his hole“Any object, wholly or partly immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”

Any change thrown into a community is rejected by a force proportional to the conservatism of the community and to the size of the change.

Change needs to be managed, particularly in Open Source communities.

  1. Create a climate of less conservatism, e.g. by getting users used to small, non-critical changes (best practice example: Ubuntu’s continuous and small changes of skin between versions).
  2. Float the ideas early and talk about them so that they won’t come unexpected.
  3. Identify the key opinion- and decision-makers in the community and get them to buy into the ideas. Gather support.
  4. Identify timing opportunities to introduce change (e.g. the new start of a development cycle is better than the middle).
  5. Implement small chunks of change when the opportunity arise and when you’re sure that you have the available resources and support to make them fly.

I’m an agent of change. I just released Hugin-2009.2.0_beta2, and there’s more to come. Watch me. You don’t need to love me.

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