Best of Open organizational culture

Best of Open organizational culture

Open organizational culture, design, and leadership generated vibrant discussion in 2017. Here are's most-read articles on the subjects.

Best of Open organizational culture
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Join the 85,000 open source advocates who receive our giveaway alerts and article roundups. published more than 100 stories about open organizational culture, design, and leadership in 2017—and the conversation was as vibrant as ever. As the year comes to a close, we're reflecting on the most-read open organization articles of the year.

5. What your code repository says about you

Every code repository tells a story—and those that don't should. Open organizations publicly hosting code—as well as those building internal and external knowledge commons—need to make sure community resources are accessible and inviting. "Your development practices convey a story," Lauri Apple wrote in January, "and that story reveals much about the values and expectations of your tech organization." The story behind this story was clear: It was a hit.

4. What to do when people start hacking your culture

Organizational culture was a compelling topic in community conversations this year. Simon Phipps struck a chord when he suggested that a culture—like any other system of implicit or explicit rules—can be hacked. "I posit that any stable system of organizational rules creates a gaming space proportional to the number of rules and the length of time they have been in operation," Simon theorized—an opinion everyone was apparently eager to hear.

3. A user's guide to failing faster

"Failure," wrote author Gordon Haff in April. "Now that's a word with a negative vibe." But in open organizations—especially those practicing agile-focused methods—failure is an inevitable outcome of the ongoing experimentation that leads to innovation. In this piece, Gordon outlined five principles for an organizational culture that productively mixes failure with accountability. The article wasn't a failure; readers flocked to it.

2. What's the point of DevOps?

DevOps, another popular topic this year, prompted a simple question from author Matt Micene in May: What's the point of DevOps? Micene's answer took readers through a brief history of organizational design, a commentary on startup culture, and a detour through sociological theory. "Creating deeper change requires new approaches to the notion of change altogether," Matt explained. "And to discover those approaches, we need to better understand the drive for change in the first place." The piece appeared in The Open Organization Guide to IT Culture Change—and became the second most-read piece on open organizations in 2017.

1. 5 laws every aspiring DevOps engineer should know

In yet another exploratory essay on DevOps, Chris Short outlined the "five laws" any would-be DevOps engineer should internalize on the path to success. "An unquenchable thirst for fundamental systems knowledge is necessary for success in DevOps," Chris wrote in May. "Great DevOps engineers constantly seek answers to questions and solutions to problems. To become one of them, make preventing future technical debts a constant focus of your work. Never stop learning." In that spirit, readers followed along—enough readers, in fact, to make this piece the year's most-read open organization article.

Honorable mentions

Want to keep reading? Explore the next five most-read stories in 2017.

About the author

Bryan Behrenshausen
Bryan Behrenshausen - Bryan edits and manages the Open Organization section of, which features stories about the ways open values and principles are changing how we think about organizational culture and design. He's worked on since 2011. Find him online as semioticrobotic.