Introducing the Open Source Software Needs Assessment

I’m really pleased to share with this community that we’ve developed an easy to use, self-serve, web-based needs assessment toolkit for open source projects: Open Source Software Needs Assessment Toolkit | Information Saves Lives | Internews

The toolkit helps identify the needs, pain points, opportunities, and strengths of open source tool teams. The output of the OSS Needs Assessment is a clear baseline picture of the health of the tool, the top 5 areas of concern for the tool team, and concrete, specific steps the team can take to achieve their vision and goals.

The plan is made available as a printable document at the end of the self-assessment. This document can then be leveraged to develop grant proposals and a clear rationale supporting the project’s need for various resources.

If your team decides to take the self-assessment, I’d love to hear your feedback on the experience!

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I’d like to suggest an addition: Testing. A software is only sustainable if it is thoroughly tested. When the tests and the test infrastructure are not conveniently reproducible and self-hostable, it is a very significant roadblock. Red Hat understood that twenty years ago and to this date RHEL is tested with methods and software that have never been released to the public. A competitor would have to re-build the entire test process if they were to compete. They consistently kept their tests a secret and made money out of them. They are not the only one, but they are a good example that demonstrates how vital tests are to the sustainability of a software codebase.

Tests are still perceived as optional and it will probably be years before their importance is acknowledged. Tests are to software what a demonstration is to a theorem. Without them, there is no proof the software actually works.

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Excellent suggestion!

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