Chapter 5. Checking Out InnerSource at PayPal

  • Year, place founded: 1998, Palo Alto, California (USA)

  • Area(s) of business: Financial services

  • Revenues: US$13.09 billion (2017)

  • Reach of business: 200 countries worldwide

  • Number of employees worldwide: 18,100

  • Number of engineers: 8,000

  • Year of InnerSource adoption: 2015

Much has already been published about PayPal’s journey with InnerSource, the idea that using Open Source collaboration methods inside proprietary engineering organizations could go a long way towards improving quality and reducing resource bottlenecks while building competency in collaborative development. This, in turn, should increase the chances of successful Open Source participation down the road; the first booklet PayPal wrote is the most-downloaded noncode asset on public GitHub at the moment.

After a little background, this chapter will describe the year-long experiment with the Symphony module, PayPal’s longest and most intentional InnerSource experiment to date. Symphony helped to convince senior executives within the company that the InnerSource method is an effective way to increase collaboration in a heavily siloed engineering organization. We’ll also describe a parallel experiment by the India Domestic team, which independently decided to employ InnerSource to gain agency for a focused regional effort.

A Little Background

In 2014, longtime Open Source activist Danese Cooper was hired by PayPal to set up an Open Source programs office ...

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