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InnerSource Fall Summit Lessons Learned

ErinMB edited this page Jan 31, 2017 · 19 revisions

This page is to crowd source the lessons learned and take-aways from the Fall Summit 2016. Feel free to add bullet points or to help organize what is here. Add sections as needed

Lessons Learned

  • Use Open Source principles to increase the level of psychological safety (PS), a key building block to pull request/inner source culture. Release early, release often; allow the community to learn from/build on mistakes. There are four quadrants: apathy zone = low PS, low accountability; comfort zone = high PS but low accountability (not making progress); anxiety zone = high accountability, low PS; and the ideal learning zone = high PS + high accountability.

psychological safety

  • Pattern development is a good way of developing solution templates for use in various companies - should give a consistent approach to most common Inner Source issues. Patterns will also help people think through and understand the elements of a solution that can and must be customized for application in a specific company/situation.

  • Need to spread the word on Inner Source Survey - only 11 responses! @danese mentioned that the forthcoming Github Survey on Open Source communities might be worth looking into/collaborating with.

  • Inner Source can and should be a source of competitive advantage in talent recruitment (pointed out by Github folks)

  • Trusted Committers are asked to be mentors to bring other contributors to become better engineers and contributors.

  • One (minimal) way to check if projects are inner sourcing is to ensure they have appropriate:

    • (for improved findability; name, description, earlier names of projects, keywords, announcements about builds, releases, bugs and performance issues; information about discussion lists)
    • - links to the rally backlog, issues, abandoned code; includes a ranking system (easy, intermediate, hard)
    • (things that people need to know)
    • - all the requirements; acts like a Contribution Licensing Agreement (CLA); written set of expectations between groups.
  • Biggest challenges for inner sourcing include: funding (department to department?), cultural change, hierarchical structure, security concerns, ongoing maintenance of contributions (TCs could help), legacy tooling and management support (oftentimes inner sourcing is grass roots but it needs VP buy-in to be sustainable)

  • Influence is much more important than ownership

  • Understanding principles behind the processes is vital

Ideas inspired by the Fall Summit

  • Pattern-development library on

Next steps

  • bi-weekly meetings for inner source patterns
  • will have smaller teams of 3-4 people meet to work on writing patterns using and google docs for simultaneous editing.


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