Zurmo is an Open Book

I visited Switzerland for the first time as a nineteen year old, backpacking through Europe. The morning after arriving in Zurich, I rented a bike and set out to ride around the lake. About twenty minutes from the city, I was overcome by a powerful and delicious waft of chocolate. Never before had I quite experienced anything like it.

Approaching a little village, I wondered what could be the source of this incredible aroma. A bakery? A pastry shop? Peddling further as the smell reached its climax, I discovered a chocolate factory.

One of the largest, most famous luxury chocolate factories in Europe, actually. My nineteen year old self could not resist but to stop. I wanted to taste the chocolate. But more than anything, I wanted a tour of the factory.

I walked up to the door and found that, low and beyond, “mein Herr, a tour is not possible, however there is a museum right this way…” This small, permanent exhibit featured a series of short looping videos tracing the company’s tremendous global success back to the 19th century among other rather useless propaganda.

Bitte sehr, may I see the factory floor?” I wanted to see the inner workings. I wanted to know how these magical sweets were concocted. Perhaps I was also expecting to make friends with an oompa loompa, I do not recall. The answer was a definitive “nein”, but I did receive a small box of chocolates as a consolation prize. The reason for the tour refusal I was told, was that the recipe for the chocolate and the process by which it is made, has remained a closely guarded Swiss secret for generations. 

In the case of Swiss chocolate, there is something quite charming about the mystery. Yes, perhaps it is better to keep everything under a tight lid, so that those of us biting into a milk chocolate truffle will enjoy the experience as truly transcendental.

Open Source however, is quite the opposite.  With Open Source, there should not be secrets. Should not, because there usually are. More often than not, engineers who want to collaborate and build on top of an Open Source platform  rely on roadmaps, product announcements, and community chatter for hints of what may be going on in the ‘inner layer’ or what may be rolled out in the future.

To those of us involved with Zurmo, that simply does not jive with our ethos of transparency. That is why our lead Engineer Jason and Co-Founder Ray made the decision from day one to keep our project management tool completely public. It is, in a sense, our factory floor.

Please, tour it. Spend as much time exploring our inner workings as you can. Constructive criticism is more than welcome. In fact, since day one, we’ve depended on it from our community. Unfortunately, we can’t offer you any chocolate. But if you should happen to be visiting Switzerland anytime soon, let me know and I’d be happy to give you directions to that factory.

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