Engineering Artifacts Themselves Are No Longer the Source of Sustainable Advantage and/or Innovation

My good friend Dave Meyer just wrote a great blog post at SDN Central available here. A key point which Dave makes is this:

Now, if we step back and ask what is implied by these three observations, you begin to see an important and profound macro trend: Engineering artifacts themselves are no longer the source of sustainable advantage and/or innovation. Rather, sustainable advantage is achieved through engineering systems, organizational culture, and the people and process that comprise the community (and/or organization). Open-source community, code, and associated engineering systems are coming together in a way that is fundamentally transforming the network industry.

Dave is spot on with his analysis here. We need to stop thinking about artifacts as being only things such as installable software, firmware images, or even pieces of hardware. In the Open Source world, the community is an artifact. Vibrant mailing lists filled with discussion are artifacts. The tool chains are artifacts. The CI/CD systems become artifacts. All of these things become equally as important as the final result, because they each can substantially affect the final result, and without them working in harmony, you can’t get the final result.

When you grasp this concept, it really blows your mind.