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Proven approaches that can guide you through applying open source best practices within your organization

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This repository serves as the collection-point, ideation hub, and process behind the InnerSource Commons' InnerSource Patterns--a set of proven and reviewed solutions to InnerSource problems. These patterns illustrate beneficial activities and behaviors found in organizations who apply InnerSource methodologies. See below the list for more on what a pattern is, how to use them in your organization, and how to get involved.

List of Patterns

The below lists all known patterns. They are grouped into four stages of maturity.

Reviewed Patterns (proven and reviewed)

  • 30 Day Warranty - a pattern for getting a reluctant code-owning team to accept code submissions from outside their team.
  • Common Requirements - Common code in a shared repository isn't meeting the needs of all the project-teams that want to use it; this is solved through requirements alignment and refactoring.
  • Contracted Contributor - Associates wanting to contribute to InnerSource are discouraged from doing so by their line management. Relief is provided by formal contracts and agreements.
  • Dedicated Community Leader - Select people with both communications and technical skills to lead the communities to ensure success in starting an InnerSource initiative.
  • Review Committee - A formal review committee is setup within an org to officiate particular inner source projects with resources, etc.
  • Service vs. library: It's inner source, not inner deployment - Teams in a DevOps environment may be reluctant to work across team boundaries on common code bases due to ambiguity over who will be responsible for responding to service downtime. The solution is to realize that often it's possible to either deploy the same service in independent environments with separate escalation chains in the event of service downtime or factor a lot of shared code out into one library and collaborate on that.

Reviewed Pattern Ideas (not yet proven but reviewed)

  • Modular Code - Management does not want to spend the extra resources needed to develop modular components and make them available in a visible repository for others to use.
  • Poor Naming Conventions - People can't find the internally developed solutions that they need due to poor naming conventions. This causes frustration in finding inner source solutions and a reduction in code reuse.

Pattern Drafts (proven, not yet fully reviewed)

Pattern Ideas (not yet proven; brainstormed)

Pattern Donuts (needing a solution)

What are Inner Source Patterns?

Patterns are a way of describing a repeatable, proven solution to a problem with a context. They follow a simple form that helps people wanting to implement the solution to understand the constraints on the problem, the forces that must be balanced and the resulting context (the situation you are left with after the solution is applied). In inner sourcing, patterns can provide a way for the InnerSource Commons participants to concisely share information with each other, improving the practice of inner sourcing. Each of the patterns are divided into Title, Problem Statement, Context, Forces, and Solutions as their main sections.

How can you use Inner Source Patterns?

Patterns must be used in a thoughtful manner. They cannot be blindly applied. In most cases, you will need to adapt the given solution to your own situation; but the information given in the pattern, defining the context (immovable constraints) and forces (constraints that can be changed and balanced against each other), should help you do this. Note that you will also need to determine if there are additional constraints (company context and company forces) that apply to your particular company/organization that must be added to the pattern (as a kind of filter). These additional constraints may require additional solution steps to be applied.

The pattern form is useful for describing proven patterns but it can also be used for brainstorming solutions where patterns are not yet established, since the form gives a structured way for thinking about a problem. You could also create a donut pattern (filling in the problem, context, forces and resulting context fields but leaving the solution blank) as a way of asking the InnerSource Commons community for help (to find a proven solution or to brainstorm things to try).

How to Contribute?

See our CONTRIBUTING.md for details on getting involved

We encourage beginners seeking answers to jump in by creating ''donuts'' (problems without solutions). We encourage experts to pad their experience - these are hoped to become part of a book one day. Anyone can offer reviews and comments for in-progress patterns.

We work together via Github, Webex, Slack, etc. Do not hesitate to join the #innersourcecommons or #innersource-patterns slack channels and ask to be included in the patterns meetings (there is an email list).

Pattern Meta Info

The topics below cover information about how we define, operate, and upkeep this collection of patterns.

  • Pattern Template - Start a new pattern with a copy of this
  • Pattern States - Definitions of the various states and review steps a pattern can be in
  • Trusted Collaborators - Who these people are, what elevated rights they get, and how you can become one
  • Publishing - How we take completed, reviewed, proven patterns and publish them toward an online book
  • Markdown Info - Markdown is the ascii text format our patterns are written in; this document briefly defines how we use it
  • Contributing - How to interact with our group, create your own patterns, or take part in our review-process; Github / Web centric instructions
    • Alternate Command-line steps - If you want to contribute a pattern using git from the command-line, this is your document
    • Meetings - Become involved with the people and communications of the Inner Source Patterns group

Related References


Creative Commons License

InnerSourcePatterns by InnerSourceCommons.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

InnerSourcePatterns open issues Ask a question     (View All Issues)
  • over 3 years README.md needs more content
  • over 3 years Rename workflow.md to CONTRIBUTING.md
  • over 3 years Write down pattern idea: use build/package manager to promote discoverability and reusability
  • over 3 years branch-labeling-test
InnerSourcePatterns open pull requests (View All Pulls)
  • pattern/contracted-contributor
  • pattern/badly-named-piles
  • pattern/contained-innersource
  • pattern/commonRequirements
  • Create include-product-owners.md
  • 30 Day Warranty
  • Update pattern nomenclature
  • Added new pattern: Start as Experiment
  • pattern/not-invented-here
  • pattern/change-developers-mindset
  • pattern/junkyard-styled-innersourcing
  • pattern/dont-bother-looking
  • pattern/poor-naming-conventions
  • pattern/contracted-contributor
  • pattern/overcoming-project-management-time-pressures
  • pattern/open-source-trumps-innersource
  • pattern/review-committee
  • pattern/get-contributions-despite-silo-thinking
  • Cross-team Project Valuation
  • Contained InnerSource
  • Add pattern for discussion: first steps with metrics
  • pattern/cultural-change-through-hiring
  • Suggestion for patlet - small word changes
  • Establish pattern system
  • Change the Middle-Management Mindset
  • Create assisted_compliance.md
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