Key Factors for Adopting Inner Source

Inner Source is a term used to refer to adopting an Open Source Software development approach within a company. Which development practices exactly an organization would adopt can vary widely, but the idea is that developers are empowered by offering them the “tools” and freedom to contribute to other teams’ or departments’ code. This approach can bring all sorts of benefits to the software product (such as faster development, more reuse, better quality) and as a result to the company as a whole.

Numerous companies have adopted Inner Source – and numerous companies are interested in adopting Inner Source. However, a big challenge for these interested companies is: how does inner source work, and what are important aspects to start an inner source initiative?

One of the studies I conducted for my PhD thesis (2011) was exactly to answer that question. The initial study was reported in the PhD thesis, and significantly revised and extended, and has recently been published in the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (vol. 23(2), article 18). (Please go to the publications section for the PDF).

Many companies are interested in adopting Inner Source, and I’m very excited about the publication of this work, as it is published in one of the two flagship journals in the software engineering research community. I am looking forward to collaborate with other organizations interested in this topic.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd… in crowdsourcing software development

Crowdsourcing software development is an emerging topic within the software engineering community. While there are numerous studies on the topic of “crowdsourcing,” as far as we know there have been no case studies of crowdsourcing software development. We are happy to report that our paper entitled “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: A Case Study of Crowdsourcing Software Development” was accepted in the technical track of the 36th International Conference on Software Engineering. Pre-prints will be available in a few weeks. Meanwhile, you can find the Research Protocol here.

Microblogging in Open Source projects: The Case of Drupal

Our paper “Microblogging in Open Source Software Development: The Case of Drupal Using Twitter” was accepted for publication in IEEE Software. This work is led by Dr Xiaofeng Wang from the Free University of Bolzano, in collaboration with Ilona Kuzmickaja, Pekka Abrahamsson and Brian Fitzgerald. You can find the pre-print here. While there have been numerous academic papers on Twitter, few have been published targeting the Software Engineering community, and so far most of them have been conference papers.

Uncovering Theories in Software Engineering

Our paper “Uncovering Theories in Software Engineering” was accepted in the Second Workshop on a General Theory of Software Engineering (GTSE), collocated with ICSE 2013. One of the key points that we make in this paper is that SE research already has bits of theories, that we call Theory Fragments, and we adopted a framework offered by Brinberg and McGrath that can help to dissect papers so as to identify those fragments. You can find a preprint of the paper here.

Agile Methods in Regulated Domains

Our paper “Scaling Agile Methods to Regulated Environments: An Industry Case Study” was accepted in the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), in the Software Engineering in Practice (SEIP) track. The case study was conducted a QUMAS, a company based in Cork. The paper was written by: Brian Fitzgerald, Klaas-Jan Stol, and Ryan O’Sullivan and Donal O’Brien from QUMAS.