TAI Solutions Blog

Unleash the power of your teams with InnerSource

by Piergiorgio Lucidi


We are living in a technology age where Open Source is leading an on-going wave of innovation for a wide range of areas such asContent, NoSQL, Big Data, Analytics as well as Capture Services.

Considering  the number of new Open Source projects born in recent years, it is impressive to see how many outstanding ideas and solutions have been generated  by people in virtual communities around the world. The real value of these communities is not only related to the technology l but on how they smoothly operate  across  different timezones, languages and cultures.

InnerSource takes the lessons learnt and practices from Open Source experiences and provide a framework to apply them within the enterprise context.

Your own Open governance

If you are wondering wether how replicating such successful model inside your company exists, the answer is InnerSource. The InnerSource community is trying to simplify the lessons learned in a common methodology to help companies facilitate the adoption of Open Source principles and practices.

The InnerSource model looks at how Open Source communities currently operate in terms of methodologies, principles and practices with an external point of view and in an agnostic way. There are a lot of Open Source communities in the world and some of these have created their own community model, others have created a foundation for managing funds and apply a common governance model.

Adopt a reliable approach

Based on my personal contribution in different Open Source communities  I think that the most mature community model is The Apache Way, created by The Apache Software Foundation.

As an Apache Member and mentor, I have experience in playing different roles inside the Apache community. The Apache Way can be considered one of the governance models that can inspire companies to adopt InnerSource,building upon  the well known and tested practicesthat makes Apache great.

InnerSourcing is becoming a hot topic in different enterprise contexts, for each technology area we find a lot of different frameworks, libraries, solutions and products. Investing on skills and products  is no more sufficient  for being innovative in the market To stay in the cutting edge wave, companies should invest in a community process for their internal team :  the “HOW” in innovation has become as important as  the “WHAT”.


Why adopting InnerSource?

The first reason why you should adopt InnerSource is mainly because you want to replicate in your organisation the same successful results and enthusiasm which exists today in Open. The expected consequence of the adoption is that you will have a better software in terms of reliability and a very strong and motivated team.

Talents want to stay if you have, and they live inside, an healthy governance for your team and remember that talents bring other talents: this is part of your reputation. Having a good reputation will foster your brand reputiation for hiring talents and reduce the effort in the search for talent.

Some of the main benefits of the InnerSource adoption can be wrapped up with the following:

  • Healthy collaboration model

  • Shorter time-to-market for your products

  • Better lifecycle management

  • Increased engagement for the overall Team

  • Increased innovation

The key principles of InnerSource are:

  • Meritocracy

  • Transparency

  • Community consensus

Having a meritocracy framework will bring new energy to your team providing incentives to do more and better for achieving a promotion to the next step / role defined for their own career path.

You don't need (and you really don't want) black boxes, so transparency will bring a fresh new air to drastically change the mindset from a closed to an Open and collaborative approach. Using specific metrics and automation tools will automagically feed the power of your team.

The main framework to define the better path for your projects is to leave the decision making process to the community itself for any issue and planned improvement. If something is not discussed inside the team it doesn't not exist and it cannot be done because there is no positive consensus for it.

Need more help?

TAI Solutions provides mentoring and training services to enterprise and strategic teams willing to take the path to implement InnerSource

Contact us to know more and for an initial assessment:start with us your journey to unleash the power of your team.

The Author

Piergiorgio Lucidi

Chief Technology Evangelist

Piergiorgio is an Open Source enthusiast and evangelist; since he was he kid he grown up with videogames and programming with Commodore 64 and AMIGA computers, moving on to PC DOS and Windows and finally approaching GNU / Linux operating systems.

He is deeply engaged in Open Source communities as a key contributor particularly in the Jboss RedHat and Apache Software Foundation international teams; he's a Certified Alfresco Instructor, Engineer, Administrator and author of whitepapers and toolkits in the ECM arena.

Besides his technology passion, he is also a musician who started to play guitar at the age of seventeen and co-founded of the Jazz/Fusion band LOB Tech Tones. He is a strong Creative Commons Supporter spreading copyleft during open events and barcamps.


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