NOVEMBER 3, 2018

Here are some notes I took while reading GitHub's An Introduction to innersource white paper.

Organizations worldwide are incorporating open source methodologies into the way they build and ship their own software. […]

Many companies use the word “innersource” to describe how their engineering teams work together on code. Innersource is a development methodology where engineers build proprietary software using best practices.

[…]

[I]nnersource code helps your team discover, customize, and reuse existing internal projects. They can also establish and build on a shared set of documented processes to optimize the way your company deploys and uses software. This can lead to lower cost, greater flexibility, and an end to vendor lock-in.

[…]

Within an enterprise, individual developers can pursue their interests, share ideas on a level playing field, and more easily learn from their peers. However, innersource also requires a cultural shift. Your team’s culture will need to encourage knowledge sharing and welcome contributions from across your organization. […] For innersource projects, distributing control across a smaller group of participants frequently makes approvals and reviews more effective. Creating a small, cross-functional team of decision makers can also help teams stick to quality standards and gain executive support.
Adopting innersource practices is like starting an open source community within your organization. As with open source, transparent collaboration mobilizes a community’s collective knowledge and skills to create better software. An innersource community, in contrast, contains the knowledge, skills, and abilities of people and tools within a single enterprise.

Why do companies adopt it?

As businesses evolve and differentiate their products and services with software and data—or recognize software and data is their product or service—they quickly realize that traditional development methods and tooling don’t quite work. The slow, systematic practice of gathering requirements, holding meetings, and developing in silos is not in step with the pace of technology today—or even the pace of customer demands.
Innersource helps teams build software faster and work better together—resulting in higher-quality development and better documentation. It also can help companies become more efficient by:

  • Making it easy to find and reuse code on a broad scale, avoiding wasted resources and duplication
  • Driving rapid development, regardless of company size
  • Reducing silos and simplifying collaboration throughout the entire organization—inside and between teams and functions, as well as across teams and business lines
  • Increasing clarity between engineers and management, as well as anyone else who’s interested
  • Creating a culture of openness, a precursor to open source participation
  • Reinforcing the pride, growth, and job satisfaction felt by team members who help wherever there is a need

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