"Try to get involved, the sooner the better."
Contributor Story: Jordi Ballester Alomar
A while ago, we introduced you to Lorenzo Battistini, OCA member from Italy. Today, we would like to take you to Barcelona, Spain to meet with Jordi.
Buenos dias Jordi! Please, tell us about yourself.
My name is Jordi Ballester Alomar. I am the founder of Eficent Business and IT Consulting Services S.L. 11 years ago I started as SAP functional consultant, and was deploying SAP in multiple companies and countries. Since 2011 I started to get involved into Odoo. Since 2014 we became Odoo partners and OCA members, and we are now fully focused in Odoo implementations.
We're currently helping companies across the globe, in various sectors such as Electronics, Robotics or 3d Printing, to successfully implement Odoo. Our main focus is customer insight and a very collaborative approach. Our current portfolio include services related to implementing Odoo for:
- Project-based organisations, considering to adopt ISO 21500 and PMBOK standards.
- Manufacturing and logistics organizations, using adopting Warehouse Management under Perpetual Inventory (called real-time inventory valuation in Odoo terminology).
When and how did you discover Odoo?
Since I started my career as a SAP consultant, I was always looking for an opportunity to start my own business, but the SAP world seemed to be suited for large consulting companies, or for freelancers willing to spend most of the year travelling abroad.
On the other side, I liked the Open Source movement, and I thought it could bring an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete against larger established companies.
I also thought an Open Source ERP would be a good thing for me to get started on my own. Back in my beginnings there was just Adempiere, and later I found OpenBravo. However there didn't seem to be much momentum around the concept of open source ERP. Then in 2011 I discovered OpenERP, and was immediately attracted to it. It seemed to me that this software would change the ERP landscape in the near future, so I decided to give it a try.
Why did you, a SAP consultant, decided to contribute to Odoo?
Back in 2011 I decided that the best possible approach to get introduced to Odoo would be to master a specific topic, and try to explore it in detail. I had recently passed the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and I decided to try to implement the best practices of Project Management in Odoo.
I then started building and publishing modules related to Project Management, and posting blog entries. I used my business background as SAP functional consultant, and the technical programming skills that I learned at the university to get started with Odoo and Python. During 2014 I started to become more involved with the OCA, and in 2015 we presented our work related to Project Earned Value Management at Odoo Experience. See the slides and the recorded conference, that is now being proposed to be merged to OCA.
What do you do to contribute?
I am now organizing Eficent to work much more collaboratively with the OCA. From the moment that we have an idea or customer requirements that require extending Odoo we start to prepare draft functional specifications that we share with the OCA members. Getting feedback from OCA experts is invaluable at this stage, and it help us to better understand how to approach the design of the solution.
As we start building the modules, we may start publish them to OCA, or keep them into our public Eficent repository on Github. We then invite other OCA members to get involved to our project, and even provide free training on the work that we're undergoing. Our goal is to receive as much feedback as possible, and to build interest and momentum around the topic that we're working on.
On the other side, when we use module from OCA, we test it and we try to contribute with bugfixing, feedbacks or porting across versions.
I've been recently been accepted as member of the Accounting Project Steering Committee, which means that I will work to help better progress the Accounting area of Odoo within the OCA.
What was your main challenge when you started
The initial challenge was getting through the strict guidelines. But once you get used to them, it becomes easier.
Now our main challenges are the difficulty to generate interest / momentum by other OCA members to review our work. There's so much work being proposed to the OCA, and not so many reviewers ready to spend time looking at our work.
We also struggle with the fact that Odoo is changing versions every year. Normally when you work on a big project you may stick with a version until you stabilize the environment. You may have implemented v7.0, but now we're on v9.0. So the contributions in older versions do not attract so much momentum within the OCA community.
How did you overcome this challenge?
Existing OCA members helped a lot to get started. Mostly it was Pedro Baeza who took care to review our initial work and move us to the right direction. We then took time to study the OCA guidelines, so that our efforts would be correctly applied since day 1 of the development. I also received great help from Joël Grand Guillaume, Daniel Reis, Maxime Chambreuil, Stéphane Bidoul, and many others.
In order to overcome the challenges of work done in previous versions, we currently invest in porting the most interesting work to the newest Odoo version, so as to attract more interest across the Odoo community.
Does contributing to Odoo meet your expectations and why?
Contributing meets my expectations because you finally get a much better product, and our primary focus is on Customer Care. By focusing our work towards OCA, you also make sure that whatever you implement for a customer will have a continuity overtime, which is a major concern them.
Anything you want share to a new contributor?
Get your feet wet early. Try to get involved, the sooner the better. When you start a new project, take the time to review the existing modules, pull requests, in order to avoid wasting your efforts to do something that already exists. When you want to contribute something new, try to first introduce the idea to the OCA members to get an early feedback.
Muchas gracias Jordi!
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