Table of Contents

Patterns

  • 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 - An InnerSource project is being used outside the original development team but users are having trouble getting help and getting in touch with the project team. The idea is to set up and document standard communication tooling that allows for discussions to become visible, archived and searchable.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • InnerSource Portal - Create an intranet website that indexes all available InnerSource project information. This will enable potential contributors to more easily learn about projects that might interest them and for 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. Understanding of what constitutes an InnerSource project are wide spread though. 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 familiarise 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 README.md/CONTRIBUTING.md enables a self service process for new contributors, so that they can find the answers to the most common questions on their own.

  • 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.

Appendix

Resources