Program Management for Open Source Projects

Cover of Program Management for Open Source Projects, copyright 2002 by the Pragmatic Programmers

Everyone does program management; some just do it poorly. Program management is the art of communicating and coordinating at the interfaces between teams in order to deliver value. In open source projects, that means keeping the ducks aligned so that the project can reliably deliver the software it produces. Most open source projects don’t have a position titled “program manager,” but they probably have someone(s) doing the work. I’m writing this book for them. It’s a guide to being intentional in the work they’re already doing.

Program Management for Open Source Projects is available in ebook from The Pragmatic Bookshelf. Print orders are available from Bookshop, Target, and Amazon.


What I love about Program Management for Open Source Projects is how Ben’s advice is clear and actionable. This is not theory, it is solid advice that open source program managers can use to effectively manage an open source project. Every open source program manager should read this book.

Jim Hall ­— Founder and Project Coordinator, The FreeDOS Project

A thorough exploration of program management, particularly as it relates to large scale open source projects. This book is both practical and informative, a great starting point for anyone wanting a better understanding of what program management entails.

Cate Huston — Engineering Manager, DuckDuckGo

I often wish we could just clone Ben. Since that technology seems far off, I’ll do the next best thing: encourage you to read this book. The world needs more people who know what Ben shares here. It’s full of experience-based wisdom about making an open source project work, with both specific examples and great insights into general concepts in the context of community-driven development. This book will be useful to anyone in an open source leadership role—or anyone interested in helping a community they care about.

Matthew Miller — Fedora Project Leader and Distinguished Engineer, Red Hat

In open source, as in life, there are no “unskilled jobs” and worthy outcomes do not “just happen.” I’ve seen too many open source projects and communities ruined by these misconceptions. Now, with this book, Ben has given us the resources needed to help more projects be successful. This book brilliantly disproves the perception that managing open source projects is easy, while effectively and empathetically providing the lessons for doing it well. This is exactly the resource I’ve needed for helping companies understand what’s involved in managing an open source project well.

VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Open Source Business Strategist

As seen in

10 open source coding books to read in 2023 — TechTarget

Tips for Successful Open Source Program Management — FOSSlife