Table of Contents


  • 30 Day Warranty - When accepting contributions from outside of your own team, there is a natural aversion to taking responsibility for code not written by the team itself. Through the 30 Day Warranty the contributing team consents to provide bug fixes to the receiving team, which will increase the level of trust between both teams and makes it more likely that contributions get accepted.

  • Common Requirements - Common code in a shared repository isn't meeting the needs of all the project-teams that want to use it; this is solved through requirements alignment and refactoring.

  • Communication Tooling - The users of an InnerSource project have trouble getting help and getting in touch with the host team. By consistently using asynchronous communication tooling, the project makes discussions visible, archived and searchable, leading to an improved level of support for users.

  • Contracted Contributor - Associates wanting to contribute to InnerSource are discouraged from doing so by their line management. Relief is provided by formal contracts and agreements.

  • Core Team - Even when an InnerSource project is widely needed, contributions and usage may be hindered because the project is difficult to work with. Establish a core team that is dedicated to take care of the project's fundamental items. Their work enables contributors to add and use the features that provide value to their scenarios.

  • Cross-Team Project Valuation - It's hard to sell the value of cross-team InnerSource projects that don't provide a direct impact on company revenue. Here's a data-driven way to represent your project that both articulates its value and amplifies it.

  • Dedicated Community Leader - Select people with both communications and technical skills to lead the communities to ensure success in starting an InnerSource initiative.

  • Document your Guiding Principles - The usual InnerSource explanation of "applying open source best practices inside an organization" does not work well with people lacking an open source background. As a remedy the most important principles of InnerSource get documented and published widely.

  • Extensions for Sustainable Growth - An InnerSource project is receiving too many contributions, making maintenance difficult. By offering an extension mechanism outside of the core project, the maintainers enable scaling of project capabilities with minimal cost and maintenance overhead.

  • Gig Marketplace - Establish a marketplace by creating an intranet website that lists specific InnerSource project needs as "Gigs" with explicit time and skill requirements. This will enable managers to better understand their employee’s time commitment and professional benefits thereby increasing the likelihood of garnering approval to make InnerSource contributions.

  • Group Support - What happens if a team or individual no longer supports an InnerSource project? Keep the project alive by forming a group of interested individuals.

  • InnerSource License - Two legal entities that belong to the same organization want to share software source code with each other but they are concerned about the implications in terms of legal liabilities or cross-company accounting. An InnerSource License provides a reusable legal framework for the sharing of source code within the organization. This opens up new collaboration options, and makes the rights and obligations of the involved legal entities explicit.

  • InnerSource Portal - Potential contributors cannot easily discover InnerSource projects that they are interested in. By creating an intranet website that indexes all available InnerSource project information you enable contributors to learn about projects that might interest them and InnerSource project owners to attract an outside audience.

  • Issue Tracker Use Cases - The InnerSource host team fails to make not only plans and progress but also context for changes transparent. This is solved by increasing the use cases for the project issue tracker to also serve brainstorming, implementation discussion, and feature design.

  • Maturity Model - Teams have started adopting InnerSource. The practice is spreading to multiple departments. However, the understanding of what constitutes an InnerSource project varies. The solution is to provide a maturity model to allow for teams to go through a self check and discover patterns and practices that they are not yet aware of.

  • Praise Participants - After an inner source contribution, it's important to thank the contributor for their time and effort. This pattern gives guidance that not only effectively acknowledges the contribution but also engenders further engagement from the contributor and others.

  • Repository Activity Score - Potential contributors want to find active InnerSource projects in need of their help. By calculating a repository activity score for each project, a ranked list of projects can be created (e.g. on the InnerSource Portal), so that potential contributors can more easily determine which project they want to contribute to.

  • Review Committee - The InnerSource working model is a radical departure from more traditional approaches, for developers and managers alike. By establishing a review committee as an interface between the InnerSource initiative and all senior managers of business units participating in it, the latter are more likely to familiarize themselves with the initiative and support it, as it affords them a certain level of oversight and control without fostering micromanagement.

  • Service vs. Library - Teams in a DevOps environment may be reluctant to work across team boundaries on common code bases due to ambiguity over who will be responsible for responding to service downtime. The solution is to realize that often it's possible to either deploy the same service in independent environments with separate escalation chains in the event of service downtime or factor a lot of shared code out into one library and collaborate on that.

  • Standard Base Documentation - New contributors to an InnerSource project have a hard time figuring out who maintains the project, what to work on, and how to contribute. Providing documentation in standard files like enables a self service process for new contributors, so that they can find the answers to the most common questions on their own.

  • Standard Release Process - Teams may hesitate to adopt an InnerSource project if they are unsure of its maturity. To address this, consistent release notes and published artifacts are crucial. These practices showcase a strong dedication to the project, instilling confidence and assuring users of ongoing commitment to sustainable and well-managed software.

  • Start as an Experiment - Start your InnerSource initiative as a time limited experiment to make it easier for managers unfamiliar with InnerSource to endorse and support the initiative.

  • Transparent Cross-Team Decision Making using RFCs - InnerSource projects that want to achieve high participation rates and make the best possible decisions for everybody involved need to find ways to create participatory systems throughout the full software lifecycle. Publishing internal Requests for Comments (RFCs) documents allows for discussions early on in the design process, and increases the chances to build solutions with a high degree of commitment from all involved parties.

  • Trusted Committer - Many InnerSource projects will find themselves in a situation where they consistently receive feedback, features, and bug-fixes from contributors. In these situations, project maintainers seek ways to recognize and reward the work of the contributor above and beyond single contributions.



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