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Title

Review Committee (aka Cheese Interface)

Context

Company A wants to introduce its first InnerSource initiative. Most managers in company A are not familiar with the Open Source working model and are instead accustomed to hierarchical, top-down control style management.

Problem

Managers will perceive the InnerSource working model as a radical departure from the working models they are accustomed to and have experience with. As a consequence, it is likely that they will either reject or micro manage the InnerSource initiative in order to try to minimize the perceived risk of this change. In both cases, the benefits of InnerSource can not be realized. As a result, InnerSource is subsequently discredited.

Forces

  • The more perceived control a manager has over the work in the InnerSource initiative, the more likely it is that she or he will support the initiative without prior experience.
  • The less experience a manager has with the open source working model the more likely it is that she or he will want to control the risk of the initiative.
  • The more heavy handed and micro managerial InnerSource initiatives are managed, the less likely it is that the open source working model can be adopted to the required extent. As a result, the benefits of InnerSource will not be realized.

Solution

  • Establish a review committee comprised of senior managers of all business units which participate in the InnerSource initiative.
  • The review committee members are given the authority to decide as a group which InnerSource projects will receive support in general and funding in particular.
  • Applicants can be elected by review committee members before meetings to present their proposed InnerSource project during review committee meetings for consideration.
  • Leaders of InnerSource projects currently funded by the review committee are obliged to report on the status of their project during every review committee meeting.
  • Review committee members are obliged to provide constructive feedback to both new applicants and current project leaders during review committee meetings.
  • Every InnerSource project is to be given the chance to react to feedback received on one session of the review committee until the next session in order to avoid shutting down the project prematurely.
  • An InnerSource project leader can also present the motion to be shut down on its own initiative on a review committee. The review committee then has to decide whether or not the business units using the software need to be given time to put measures in place to ensure that development and/or maintenance of the codebase continues until an alternative solution to development by the InnerSource community is found (if business relevant or mission critical).
  • The review committee should convene regularly. A cadence of two meetings per year has proven successful.

Review Committee Sketch

Resulting Context

  • Managers apply a tool they are comfortable with to InnerSource in order to get the required amount of information about and control over the inner workings of the InnerSource initiative. This familiarity will make it more likely for them to sign off on the InnerSource initiative and grant the required degree of freedom for InnerSource projects.
  • Developers can still self organize to a sufficient degree. Micro management does not happen because the review committee convenes rather infrequently.

Known instances

BIOS at Robert Bosch GmbH

Status

Finalized and Reviewed as of 8/31/17.

Authors

  • Georg Grütter, Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Diogo Fregonese, Robert Bosch GmbH