Working Openly

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At OSE, we work openly. Working openly means some practical things as:

  1. Logging. Keeping a Work Log with links to work product so that anyone on the team can find out what another person is doing automatically, thereby facilitating collaboration with minimal orientation time. Key to this - The key to using a work log effectively is linking directly to work product, so that everything is transparent and self-verifiable. For example, don't put on your log - "I was working on the printer design today", but instead, post a direct link to the working CAD file.
  2. Work in Progress - publish work in progress, not just results. This allows for effective feedback loops for improvement - otherwise you are not really collaborating. Note that the majority of the time, a project is in development. Thus, if you publish only when it's done, you are missing out on most of the potential collaboration.
  3. Publish Early and Often. As soon as you start any document - upload it. This is 'publish early and often'. This serves two purposes: you've succeeded in backing it up - and for collaboration purposes - you now changed the document from a solo work to a collaborative project.
  4. Publish Once- But, whenever possible - use cloud editable documents to Publish Once - start them and make them open for anyone to edit. That is correct. We have never had vandalizing issues on working documents yet, even though they are open. You can close them up (remove edit permissions) when they are no longer to be edited.
  5. Use Digital Age and Open Source Publishing Tools - writing was invented 5500 years ago, allowing for Time Binding. The printing press brought education to the masses in the 1400, which preceded the Enlightenment. Not much happened in terms of tools for time-binding until Linux was created in 1991, as the first open source operating system that led to the creation of the internet. The wiki was invented in 2001, allowing for collaborative online editing. Realtime, collaborative editing was invented in 2006- with Google Docs. And in 2004, OSE was incorporated for the first time in the USA, preceding live editable docs by 2 years. All this to say: today we have unprecedented power of collaboration and learning through live, editable documents and presentations - and near-realtime, large-scale collaboration via wikis. Use these tools to accelerate progress. Thus, when you publish - use collaborative, live-editable work documents whenever you can - and use downloadable files only if web-based, live-editable versions are not available. In practice - use Google Spreadsheets and Slides - do not send files back and forth if technology exists for working with them online. This assumes access to the internet - and we assume that everyone will have internet soon. If you do send over design files, use an open format - do not use a proprietary format that people without the necessary software can't open,
  6. Transparency. Keep relevant information transparent. For example, if you found out some piece of new information, and documented it - include a link so others can learn more if needed. Think of it - if someone else were studying my work, how can I help them learn faster?
  7. What you are doing is important. - Don't make documentation a burden. Start by understanding, at a deep level, the concept of Time Binding and Economic Time Binding - and note that humans have a unique and powerful capacity to build on past experience. If you appreciate this capacity - AND are working on an important project - that should be a good motivation for documenting, and not feeling that it's a waste of effort. And, make sure that what you are doing is important. Ask yourself, "if this is not important, why am I doing it?" and then eliminate any unimportant tasks from your task list. Why is your work important? Because working openly creates a new paradigm in civilization, enabling evolution to happen more effectively.
  8. Self-Esteem - Understand that high self-esteem is important to working openly - as working openly means you are vulnerable - to questions! Study the latest science about Self-Esteem and build it if you don't think you have it. Become like Muhammad Ali - double greatest.
  9. Findability - Enable any other collaborator to find your work. This could be anyone - an existing team member - or a new person - regardless of whether you know them or not. There will be others who will want to see your document - especially if you remember that what you are doing is important.