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Open / Inner Source and Who is Left to Ingest It?


#1

I am interested in bringing the open source way and inner source, to organizations that otherwise are not as familiar with it - aka, they know they should do more of it, but don’t know how. It usually means within a software development context, though I am interested in other contexts.

How many of these exist?
I read an opinion recently that the orgs that do distributed work patterns and collaborate more freely, are already doing it and know how to because its engrained in their ways/culture.

Will there be a point of saturation?
… where the vast majority of orgs who want to convert, have converted, and the ones who haven’t wont effectively be able to convert because of incompatible culture matches?

Are we at or nearing that saturation point?
I argue no, but not sure when or where that is - or even if there would be one.

You dont need to answer these Q’s verbatim… just looking for discussion and open ended thoughts. Thanks!


#2

We’re nowhere near a point of ‘saturation’: most organizations I came in touch with are very very poorly setup for collaboration, distributed/remote work, etc. In fact, if you read HBR or similar business management publications, a lot of their articles are about how to change corporate culture to accommodate for these topics.

There will not be a saturation point because if you look at the top performing companies, they all have different structures and cultures, and they all do more than fine.


#3

I agree. Interesting topic, @nyeates.

Innersource is a pretty young notion, and while increasing a thing in the open source world, it is pretty unknown outside. As such, I doubt it will hit a saturation point.

While innersource seems like a logical thing for companies - “open source is awesome, why don’t we bring these principles internally!”, in my experience this work is a lot harder than one might think. Fundamentally it nips at the center of institutional knowledge and culture and while many orgs have a team that is focused on bringing in innersource, for it to really succeed it needs to be more top down than bottom up.

The bottom up approach can deliver great results within a narrow scope (e.g. within a specific technology group), but to build wider innersource participation it needs to be something the exec team have made a priority. This is happening in some orgs, but the principles are so new that it will take time for that to propagate more widely.


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