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Title

Gig Marketplace

Patlet

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.

Problem

Neither managers nor employees understand how they might benefit from getting involved in an InnerSource project.

It is difficult for employees to communicate to their management what commitment of time they will need to make to an InnerSource project.

Managers have no uniform way of keeping track of or rewarding their employee’s involvement in InnerSource projects.

Story

You’ve successfully created an InnerSource program at your company and have buy-in from senior management, middle-management and developers. However, after nearly a year there have been few actual contributions made to any InnerSource projects outside of the teams that originally created them. After interviewing all the parties involved the main sticking point seems to be that it is difficult to know the time commitment developers will be asked to make if they choose to get involved in an InnerSource project and how they will personally benefit. There is also no uniform way of advertising what opportunities for contributors exist, what they’ll be asked to do and approximately how long it might take. Managers are supportive and want their employees to participate but so far have lacked a way of accounting for or rewarding their employees’ activities within InnerSource projects. What can be done to improve this situation for all the parties involved (InnerSource project owners, potential contributors and development managers)?

Forces

  • Employees have no easy way to discover what InnerSource opportunities exist
  • Employees don't understand how contributing might benefit them professionally
  • Managers don't understand the time/effort requirements associated with InnerSource project related tasks

Context

Employees wish they could gain exposure to activities going on within other areas of the company without having to leave their current positions. InnerSource projects exist and could provide these experiences but there are two main factors preventing employees from participating. First, is the inability to easily discover what opportunities for contribution exist within ongoing InnerSource projects and to communicate these to their managers. Second, is the inability of managers to plan and account for their employees' time commitments to these InnerSource project tasks. As a result InnerSource project owners are finding it difficult to build communities of sufficient size to fulfill their stated goals.

Prerequisites

  • Employees have been provided time by their managers to involve themselves in InnerSource projects
  • Managers require a way for InnerSource contributions to be quantified, tracked and recorded so they can be accounted for and rewarded

Solutions

Create a “Gig” based intranet site where individuals can advertise their skills and areas of interest and InnerSource project owners can advertise opportunities for collaboration.

Employees should be able to create a profile within the application in which they can list their skills and areas of interest. The system should leverage this information by proactively informing individuals (via email or some other means) when a Gig is posted that matches one or more of those criteria.

Each Gig posted by an InnerSource project owner should include the estimated skill and time requirements so those can be easily matched to an available employee and clearly communicated to their direct management. The description should also include a rationale as to how it will benefit the person taking on the task in order to make it as attractive as possible.

A points based system could be created to reward and track an employee’s involvement in a Gig. For instance, 10 points awarded to the Gig owner for posting a Gig once it is completed and 100 points for a developer who completes a Gig. Points accrued by completing Gigs could then be used as a gamification mechanism and as performance management criteria to garner insight in to the areas of expertise that exist within an organization.

Those wishing to accept a Gig should first be vetted by the Gig owner to determine that the employee has the prerequisite skills and allotted time from their manager to complete the Gig.

The transparency of contributions made via Gigs can help a contributor build (or detract from) her reputation thereby creating a greater likelihood that the quality of the contribution will be high. Completion of Gigs can also act as proof of expertise in a particular area.

The nature of Gigs posted to the marketplace can include both hard and soft skills such as organizing a group event, writing a report or requests for mentorship etc.

The creation of the Gig Marketplace should ideally be taken on by a team within an organization with the responsibilities to provide company-wide infrastructure and capabilities.

Resulting Context

The InnerSource Gig Marketplace has vastly increased the number of InnerSource projects as well as the number of employees involved in them. The self-directed nature of the Gig Marketplace has enhanced job satisfaction amongst employees by allowing them a level of choice in the work they perform and with whom they can partner across the company. Employees understand exactly what they are signing up for and what they can expect from the experience. Managers are better able to estimate and track their employee’s time commitments with respect to InnerSource projects, recognize their individual efforts and use the completion of Gigs as a way of validating their specific skillsets. Managers are also able to leverage any existing downtime their employees may be experiencing by allowing them to pivot to work available in the Gig Marketplace. The data generated by the interactions within the Gig Marketplace is also helping to drive hiring and training decisions across all departments.

When used in combination with the InnerSource Portal pattern, the Gig Marketplace provides a finer level of context and detail in addition to the links to the code repositories and documentation for the project to which the Gig relates.

Known instances

  • A large financial services organization has used the creation of an InnerSource Gig Marketplace website to foster their InnerSource program.
  • The Gig Marketplace pattern has been proven to work extremely well with the associated InnerSource Portal pattern in this context. The InnerSource Portal increases awareness of specific projects currently underway while the Gig Marketplace advertises tasks of a certain type available to be worked on within those projects.

Author(s)

  • Stephen McCall
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