“Temporary” doesn’t turn out that way. If you want something to be a certain way, do it from the beginning.
“We’re discussing open sourcing the project code,” she said. “When?” I asked. “Oh, we’ll have to discuss that,” she said. “But soon. Soon.”
What’s open source and what does it have to do with the lie of “temporary”? To grossly oversimplify, it’s a way of programming where the entire world can see what you’re doing. It’s public transparency applied to programming life. It can be beneficial, because others point out your errors, similarly to the accountability power of public thinking.
The above conversation was with a colleague from another municipality. And I say this with all the love in my heart, but the truth is this: She won’t open source the code from her project. Ever.
“Soon” will never come.
Here is how it will go. She might broach the conversation with others. People will freak out that their “bad” (aka “imperfect”) code will be opened to the world. They don’t want to be embarrassed.
Some will wrongly assume that public inspection of code will mean a security breach. There is a partner agency involved, and politics.
Despite the clear benefits of open source and collaborative, community development, inertia, fear, and bureaucracy will rule the day.
It’s not because those people are bad. It’s because they’re like you and me. We all have a problem with overcoming incumbency.
It’s super hard to take something that is “already a success” and substantially reinvent it. You know the deal. Incumbency is why it’s so hard for the non-working parent to go back to work. It’s why pitching a change in your work hours frequently goes nowhere. It’s why premises software vendors tend not to refactor their software for cloud computing.
It is so hard to fight incumbency. And, when you’re lured by the siren of “temporary” and “we’ll do it later,” it is even harder.
There is no later.
Nothing is temporary.
“Soon” never comes… until you make a new beginning.
The way you set it up from the first is the way that it will be.
Make your custom development open source at the beginning, because incumbency means that you won’t do it later.
Negotiate your working conditions when you take the job. Later rarely happens.
Sunrises are beautiful because they are beginnings. Beginnings are important. And that is why making more beginnings is even more important.
Don’t say “I’ll do it differently, soon”. That is a big lie.
Say: I’ll do it differently during the new beginning.
Then, make more beginnings.