Not everything in inner source is about community building [but a big portion!] and the infrastructure is basic to foster collaboration, transparency and community building.
This post is about aspects to have in mind when deploying the tooling needed to provide support to developers within the organization and across business units.
There is a more extended version of this infrastructure topic in the work-in-progress book about inner source: Managing Inner Source Projects that we, in Bitergia, are writing. Specifically in the infrastructure chapter. This is available under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license and anyone is more than welcome to propose new sections, improve the current ones and collaborate in any way. Please feel free to redistribute!
We are all used to open source projects. Concepts such as community, code review process, continuous integration, geographically distributed contributions, community managers, and a whole myriad of terms and collaborative way of working are usual for all of us. And enterprises are learning from this open process. Those are changing the direction of their development models to a more open one within the organization. Initiatives such as the Inner Source Commons where companies such as PayPal or Bloomberg are publicly exposing their case, help others to deal with the usual problems they face.
“The idea is beginning to take root in even the most secretive corporate cultures… Its power lies in the inherent social nature of the creative process. When developers are able to access, use and build upon what their colleagues are creating, innovation can really take hold.”
Phil Granof in Wired
As we detailed in the previous post, adopting Inner Source practices creates great benefits for companies such as saving cost, faster time to market and enabling innovation.
There’s no doubt that Inner source needs a different approach to project management but “hands on!” What’s the best project to start Inner Sourcing?
Software is becoming the core of most business, even the traditional ones. However it doesn’t mean that companies should build all the software they need, most of it can be easily bought or outsourced with low cost, in order to focus their efforts on their core business. Thus, Inner Source should help to add value to organizations running away from commodity.
This was the case for Philips Healthcare. Klaas-Jan Stol and Brian Fitzgerald in their article Inner Source—Adopting Open Source Development Practices in Organizations recommended to start with a seed project. That means, not starting from scratch but choosing an existing initial implementation of a software product or component.
Frank Van Der Linden, CTO at Phillips was responsible for and pioneered the setting up Inner Source within the company. He decided to start with a component suite of DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) standard, used in many medical imaging tools such as x-ray and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners. Philips Healthcare has a product line for diagnostic techniques in Hospitals, so they chose a core business software product for Inner Sourcing.
Substantially improved product quality (Improved feedback from product groups)
Product groups find defects earlier.
Significant time to market gains.
Growing an active Inner Source community – Over 60% of the PH software community involved.
Philips and other companies running Inner Sourcing learned from Open Source projects, they understood how to align and coordinate efforts. In the next post, we will talk about essential tools to enable Inner Sourcing.
Software development is eating up the labor market
More than 20 years after the crash of the 1990’s dot-com bubble, IT has transformed business. Today, the majority of businesses are software companies. Netflix is not a film company, Amazon is not an online ebook company, Spotify is not a music company, Pixar is far from being an animation studio, and Groupon is not just a marketplace. There are more than 330K active organizations in GitHub. We are living in the Digital Transformationbuzzword era.
OPNFV Organizations diversity
A lot of these companies are using Open Source technologies and they demand experts in many application fields (Cloud, Web Development, etc.). Open source’s talent has a strong pro demand. Managers are always looking for experienced developers. According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report:
87% of hiring managers say it is difficult to find open source talent and 79% have even increased incentives to retain their current open source professionals.
58% of hiring managers are looking for DevOps talent, making DevOps the most in-demand role in open source today.
For jobs seekers, even though 86% of tech professionals say open source has advanced their careers, only 2% say money and perks are the best part of their job.
Having a solid strategy in attracting and retaining IT talent is crucial for the future of companies. How could Software Development Analytics help them?
Public quarterly reports are used for understanding the performance of companies. And so, quarterly reports done by Bitergia fill the gap of understanding the performance of open source communities. This type of analysis focuses on those that are still interested in metrics, but do not have the time to play with the dashboards. This indeed provides a full overview of the current quarter, but adds a comparison with the previous quarters. This allows to have some extra context about where the community is heading.
Liberty is the new release of OpenStack. This shows an increase in activity and people participating in the development of OpenStack.
There are 25,268 commits in total merged into master thanks to the work of 1,873 different developers.
In order to have that code into master, it was necessary the effort of 2,239 people that submitted at least one patchset to Gerrit. That means that 83% of them are actual contributors of Liberty release.
In terms of community, Launchpad activity shows that 9,919 people helped participating in the bug tracking process, opening, commenting and closing tickets.
The mailing lists are a busy channel of communication with 1,742 participants, but IRC seems to be the preferred channel with more than 6,000 detected nicknames.
Ask.openstack.org is also an interesting communication channel where there have been 1,386 people participating and around 2,200 different questions.
As a disclaimer, this post will not focus on organizations participating in the OpenStack development, but in the software development process. Organizations information can be easily retrieved in the Activity Board. We believe that process in the OpenStack community is important and even more when we are talking about a team of more than 2,000 different contributors.
Efficiency of the community closing changesets
As mentioned, there have been more than 2,200 people in Liberty release that aimed at contributing with a patchset in the OpenStack community. And only a subset of those pieces of code were eligible to be part of the project and merged into master. However, not all of the people that were part of the that set were even reviewed. Each quarter, the community leaves around a 20% of the changesets population open. This can be observed in the following chart. The y-axis represents the percentage of changesets that were closed (abandoned or merged) per quarter (x-axis).