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Understanding the InnerSource Checklist

Book Description

Although many large corporations are reluctant to release the software they use in-house publicly as open source, those companies can still use principles and processes of open source for developing their in-house software—a practice popularly known as InnerSource. But adopting open source practices without understanding the cultural context behind them often fails. That’s where this report comes in.

Author Silona Bonewald explains how the InnerSource initiative, introduced by PayPal, can help your company develop software internally by applying lessons from the open source movement. A checklist guides you through various steps needed to produce open source software, whether it’s companywide or just for one team.

Alongside the how, Bonewald—Director of InnerSource Commons—also explains the why behind open source. You’ll learn ways to improve collaboration, create cleaner code, reduce bottlenecks, and facilitate integrations among teams.

This report examines:

  • Ways to adapt InnerSource to your business environment without diluting open source fundamentals
  • The crucial role of the Trusted Committer in the InnerSource process
  • How to extracting tribal knowledge from silos through passive documentation
  • Why contributing agreements formalize the responsibilities of developers who originate code
  • How to move from internal silos to internal transparency

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. 1. Why InnerSource?
    1. Our Audience
    2. What Does Open Source Have That I Don’t Have?
    3. Open Source Today
    4. Open Source’s Future in the Commercial World: InnerSource
    5. A Brief History of InnerSource
    6. What Lies Behind Open Source Practices
  3. 2. What InnerSource Is and Isn’t
    1. We Have GitHub Enterprise, So We Must Be InnerSource!
      1. InnerSource Is About Culture and Processes, Not Just Tools
      2. A Parable: GitHub Without InnerSource
      3. Breaking Down the Big Cheese Problem
      4. More Communication Pitfalls
  4. 3. The Most Important Role, and the First Step: Trusted Committer
    1. Defining the Role
    2. Refining the Role
    3. Immediate Benefits
    4. Rewarding TCs
  5. 4. Passive Documentation and the Need for Findability
    1. Creating Passive Documentation
    2. “Did You Read the FINE Manual?”
    3. Findability
  6. 5. Creating Good House Rules for Guests: Writing Contributing Agreements
    1. What Is a Contributing Agreement?
    2. Mi Casa Es Su Casa
    3. Win/Win
    4. One Size Fits All?
  7. 6. Working Within the Enterprise: Understanding Planning
    1. Keep It Small and Simple, and Engage Your Staff
    2. Planning and Product Specialists
    3. Inclusion and Transparency
    4. Planners Can Have an Impact on Processes
    5. Results
    6. Crossing the Gap from Planning to Developers
  8. 7. From Internal Silos to Internal Transparency
    1. Where Did Silos Come From?
    2. What’s Wrong with Silos?
    3. Transparency for Community Sourcing
    4. Transparency Boosts Decision-Making
    5. How Do We Break Down Silo Walls?
    6. Findable Documentation Is Part of Transparency
    7. Where Do We Still Need to Improve Transparency?
    8. What Are the Limits or Pitfalls in Enterprise Transparency?
  9. 8. Looking Forward
    1. Creating an Industry Standard
  10. 9. Appendix
    1. The Actual Checklist