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Driving open-source principles in product and at home.

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Autodesk operates a suite of products that help architects, engineers, structural designers, manufacturers, animators, game developers, and visual effects artists bring their visions to life. The company aims to create a truly open source experience for the users of their products. They found that Slack was the right tool to establish openness within their walls and help them meet the demands of their industry and potential new hires.

Autodesk had used many different communication tools, with teams and subteams picking their favorites. Conversation and idea sharing between product groups, engineering, sales, marketing, and the executives were naturally limited. Guy Martin, Director, Open Source@ADSK, reviewed all the tools teams were using. Slack emerged as the one to get behind.

"It was really about getting everybody in the same sandbox,” explains Martin. “Our big tag phrase, ‘defaulting to open,’ was not going to happen without Slack, where we were able start to have these kinds of conversations across the company."

Slack is enabling the community, and the way we built the community is actually helping us make the most use of Slack.

Guy Martin
Director, Open Source@ADSK

Martin adds, “As we move to the cloud for our future products, we need to hire engineers who are familiar with cloud technologies, all of which are built on open source software. We are competing with many other companies for this scarce resource, so making our company more open source-friendly is critical for our future success.”

To truly “default to open,” Martin developed policies, best practices and coaching techniques to regiment Slack usage. He recruited Slack power users as volunteer admins who together oversee their 8,800-employee instance.

Now, “defaulting to open” is part of Autodesk’s fiber. “Slack has provided the only true cross-company, many-to-many collaboration platform,” says Martin. “We saw immediate benefits, including people making comments on our #adsk-slack-successes to the effect of 'I've had more contact with other teams at Autodesk in the first six months of our Slack usage than I've had in 6 years at the company.'”

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