& cplSiteName &

How Walmart Builds Open Source Culture

Mitch Wagner
1/9/2017
50%
50%

Technology transformation wasn't enough for Walmart to get the most from OpenStack and open source. Walmart needed to change its company culture too.

"We're trying to make open source part of your day job at Walmart, not something you do in your spare time," says Andrew Mitry, senior distinguished engineer for Walmart's Strati technology organization. "We're supporting people who work on open source projects even if it's not part of their day-to-day work."

Launched in 1962, Walmart has more than 11,500 stores in 28 countries, and ecommerce websites in 11 countries. It has more than 2 million employees, making it the largest private employer in the world.

Walmart's management backs open source, said Mitry, who presented at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona in late October. We caught up with the Walmart team recently; they said their presentation then is still relevant.

Top management support is "cascading down" and gets people involved throughout the company, Mitry said.

But management support isn't enough. "It cannot be 100% management-driven. You have to have your teams on board as well," said Megan Rossetti, part of the OpenStack Operations Infrastructure team at Walmart, who delivered the presentation alongside Mitry.

Walmart has incorporated open source culture throughout the company: Implementing annual awards for open source contributions and projects; supporting team members working on open source projects, even if they're not related to day-to-day work responsibilities; and implementing open source goals as part of the overall technology strategy, with quarterly reviews. Open source goals are also included in personal performance objectives.

"Lots of companies have awards for patents and other innovation," Mitry said. "We have company awards at that level for recognition around open source contributions."

Walmart makes extensive use of OpenStack and Puppet, and has contributed two projects to the open source community -- OneOps, for application lifecycle management, and Electrode, an application platform. The company has 170,000 cores on OpenStack, and more than 60 open source products. (See Walmart Puts Cloud Platform in Open Source.)

To further open source adoption and direct the company's open source strategy, Walmart formed an internal open source team, which reviews projects to be released to the open source community.

Open source adoption is a big help for recruitment. Talent wants to work on open source projects, and open source work helps with retention. "It creates excitement within the developer community," Mitry said. "I'm part of something bigger. I'm not doing a small thing inside a big company that nobody's going to hear about. They become part of a larger community."

By getting active in an open source community, a person who might be working solo on a particular project for Walmart becomes part of a team of people working on similar projects at other organizations, he says.

"These benefits can be larger than the traditional benefits that have been used to create incentives," Mitry said.

But open source isn't without challenges. Vendor agendas can be a problem. Operators can propose change, and get opposition from vendors because it undercuts their agenda, Mitry said.

In the future, Walmart looks to add open source feedback to yearly managerial reviews; embrace an "open source first" mentality throughout development and review; continue to grow the number of projects the company open sources, along with participation in summits, conferences and meet-ups; and increase contributions to the open source community. It also aims to "[build] the Irresistible Developer Experience, making the process easier, not harder," the Walmart team said in one of its presentation slides.


Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.


Walmart learned a number of lessons along the way. "Changing an existing culture can be difficult. Start with small wins," says one of its slides. "Show what works with an existing team, then open it to a broader audience." Open source engineers need to promote their accomplishments, and the company needs to trust its engineers.

Open source engineers also need to not fear failure, but instead view it as an opportunity to be better.

"Embrace the culture change," Rossetti said. "You have to be an advocate in the company. Talk to people about your wins -- what's working -- and share what isn't working as well."

Related posts:


CALLING ALL CLOUD, NFV AND SDN COMPANIES:
Make sure your company and services are listed free of charge at Virtuapedia, the comprehensive set of searchable databases covering the companies, products, industry organizations and people that are directly involved in defining and shaping the virtualization industry.


(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
1/10/2017 | 2:45:23 PM
Re: Cultural shift
Indeed. Hard to get managers to support work that falls outside of core KPIs.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
1/10/2017 | 2:44:40 PM
Re: Cultural shift
And Walmart is uniquely unable to outsource its cloud to Amazon. 
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/9/2017 | 6:53:57 PM
Re: Cultural shift
It would seem logical for Walmart to adopt open source. The company is always looking for ways to cut costs, while still being ahead of the technology curve. My understanding is Walmart was one of the first retailers to incorporate purchasing data into things like inventory and logistics. Open source would just seem to me to be the next step. 
Kelsey Ziser
50%
50%
Kelsey Ziser,
User Rank: Blogger
1/9/2017 | 2:52:14 PM
Cultural shift
"supporting team members working on open source projects, even if they're not related to day-to-day work responsibilitiesy..." -- that seems like it would be a tough cultural shift. I wonder how employees are working with managers to show that they're balancing required tasks with projects outside the scope of their workplan. 
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
How Intel Is Powering the 5G Era

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading tours a series of 5G "super demos" so see how Intel envisions the 5G-connected future. We take a look at a prototype connected BMW, a light pole with environmental sensors that provides 5G wireless to a smart home and a fully untethered virtual reality experience.
LRTV Custom TV
Source Photonics CEO Doug Wright Talks About the Future of Source Photonics

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Source Photonics' CEO, Doug Wright, talks to Light Reading about how the company is continuously investing in its operations to meet not only its customers' current technology demands but also to deliver their next-generation technology needs.
LRTV Custom TV
Live Demo: DevOps in Service Chains & 5G Network Slices PoC

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Executives from PoC collaborating companies – Patrick Waldemar, VP and Head of Technology at Telenor Research, John Healy, VP of the Datacenter Network Solutions Group at Intel, Vincent Spinelli, SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at RIFT.io, Mats Eriksson, CEO and co-founder of Arctos Labs, and Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds – review ...
LRTV Documentaries
The Year of Fat & Skinny Bundles

3|29|17   |   21:06   |   (0) comments


In this fireside chat, Roku's Andrew Ferrone predicts that 2017 will be the year of multichannel OTT video bundles and spells out other trends in the OTT and pay-TV markets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
BBWF 2016: Orange Poland's Next-Gen Central Office

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Introduction to Orange Poland's legacy next-generation central office solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Viavi at OFC 2017

3|28|17   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Editor-in-Chief Craig Matsumoto reports from the Viavi booth at OFC and gets an update on the 400G testing market from Tom Fawcett, VP and GM of LAB & Production. At this year's event, Viavi won three awards from Lightwave magazine and showcased an interoperability demo with Ethernet Alliance and Finisar.
LRTV Custom TV
Connecting the Entire Home With DOCSIS 3.1

3|28|17   |   3:58:   |   (0) comments


Hitron Technologies had the first cable modem certified for DOCSIS 3.1 and already has over 120,000 units in the field. Greg Fisher, CTO of Hitron, provides an update on his company's rollout of new gateways and why he thinks DOCSIS 3.1 will continue to drive value for operators into 2017 and beyond.
LRTV Interviews
Amazon Prime's Hand of God Creator on Producing for OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (1) comment


Ben Watkins is the creator, writer and producer of Hand of God, a series on Amazon Prime. At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, he explained the advantages of producing for an OTT platform versus traditional TV.
LRTV Custom TV
How Metrological Keeps Cable Customers on the Couch

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Metrological offers an open source solution that reduces the time it takes cable operators to integrate OTT content into the linear television viewing experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The ABC of OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, Ben Watkins, creator of Amazon Prime's Hand of God show, explained how producing content for an OTT platform differs from producing content for traditional TV.
Shades of Ray
Why Analytics Is the Tech World's Digital Glue

3|27|17   |   02:20   |   (0) comments


It was obvious at the massive annual CeBIT enterprise tech trade show that the foundation for tech innovation right now is real-time analytics.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Unlocking China's $194B Telecom Market
Robert Clark, 3/27/2017
WiCipedia: Supergirls, No More Excuses & Media Monitoring
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 3/24/2017
Welcome to the Wild West of Privacy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Working From Home Doesn't Work for Everyone Click Here
You shouldn't nap on your keyboard, for instance.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.