Key Factors for Adopting Inner Source

K. Stol, P. Avgeriou, M.A. Babar, Y. Lucas and B. Fitzgerald (2014) Key Factors for Adopting Inner Source, ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology. Vol. 23(2)

A number of organizations have adopted Open Source Software (OSS) development practices to support or augment their software development processes, a phenomenon frequently referred to as Inner Source. However the adoption of Inner Source is not a straightforward issue. Many organizations are struggling with the question of whether Inner Source is an appropriate approach to software development for them in the first place. This article presents a framework derived from the literature on Inner Source, which identifies nine important factors that need to be considered when implementing Inner Source. The framework can be used as a probing instrument to assess an organization on these nine factors so as to gain an understanding of whether or not Inner Source is suitable. We applied the framework in three case studies at Philips Healthcare, Neopost Technologies, and Rolls-Royce, which are all large organizations that have either adopted Inner Source or were planning to do so. Based on the results presented in this article, we outline directions for future research.