Inner Source in Platform-based Product Engineering

Abstract: Inner source is an approach to collaboration across intra-organizational boundaries for the creation of shared reusable assets. Prior project reports on inner source suggest improved code reuse and better knowledge sharing. Using a multiple-case case study research approach, we analyze the problems that three major software development organizations were facing in their platform-based product engineering efforts. We find that a root cause, the separation of product units as profit centers from a platform organization as a cost center, leads to delayed deliveries, increased defect rates, and redundant software components. All three organizations assume that inner source can help solve these problems. The article analyzes the expectations that these companies were having towards inner source and the problems they were experiencing or expecting in its adoption. Finally, the article presents our conclusions on how these organizations should adapt their existing engineering efforts.

Keywords: Inner source, product line engineering, product engineering, software platforms

Reference: Dirk Riehle, Maximilian Capraro, Lars Horn, Detlef Kips. “Inner Source in Platform-based Product Engineering.” Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Dept. of Computer Science, Technical Report, CS-2015-02. Erlangen, Germany, 2015.

The paper is available as a local PDF file and also on FAU’s OPUS server.

Touching Base with Industry through Guest Speaker Matt Richards of OwnCloud

Today, in PROD, our product management course, we got the chance to listen and engage with Matt Richards, top product manager at OwnCloud. OwnClous is a Boston + Nuremberg based startup and provider of open source file sharing solutions. The discussions revolved around product management in general, and about a particularly difficult product marketing decision to be made around Sharepoint integration. Together with Markus Rex, CEO of OwnCloud, and Caglar Unver, an FAU student writing a case about OwnCloud, we engaged with course participants in a panel discussion. We learned a lot! Thank you, Matt, for teaching us! Below, please find some photo impressions.

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Upcoming Industry Talk on Product Roadmap Decisions by Matthew Richards of ownCloud

We will host an open questions and answers session on “Product Roadmap Decisions” in PROD, our product management course.

  • by: Matthew Richards of ownCloud
  • about: Product Roadmap Decisions
  • on: 2015-19-05, Tuesday, 14:00 – 17:00
  • at: Cauerstr. 7, Room 0.154-115
  • as part of: PROD

Abstract: ownCloud, a Nuremberg-based enterprise software startup collaborating with our research group, provides enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) software to medium and large businesses. ownCloud is based on an open source project of the same name, and boasts more than 2 million users worldwide. With roughly 6 million downloads last year and a place in the top 25 open source projects globally, ownCloud is the most downloaded open source project for file, sync and share. This talk will start with an introduction to ownCloud and the overall market before discussing the role of product management in this software startup. The second part of the talk will provide insight into product roadmap decisions, and in particular the balance between tactical and strategic decisions regarding Universal File Access (UFA) via ownCloud – which enables owncloud to connect to various back-end data sources, such as Microsoft SharePoint, Windows network drive, FTP servers and more.

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Upcoming Research Talk on Empirical Findings on Effective Documentation of Object Oriented Frameworks by Ian Chai of MMU

The computer science department by way of our research group is hosting a colloquium talk (free and open to the public):

  • by: Dr. Ian Chai, Principal Lecturer at the Faculty of Computing & Informatics Multimedia University, Malaysia
  • about: Empirical Findings on Effective Documentation of Object Oriented Frameworks
  • on: July 20th, 2015, 4:15 pm
  • at: Cauerstr. 11, 91058 Erlangen, Room 01.150-128

Abstract: Object-Oriented Frameworks provide an excellent way for proven, debugged solutions to be reused for a particular domain. However, programmers new to a framework often face a steep learning curve. Therefore, good documentation is essential for framework reuse. We conducted a series of experiments in which we gave different documentation styles for the same problem to different groups of learners. Documentation styles studied include Step-by-step Documentation, Patterns, Minimalist Documentation, and JDoc. These experiments suggest some guidelines for how to document frameworks for new users.

Continue reading Upcoming Research Talk on Empirical Findings on Effective Documentation of Object Oriented Frameworks by Ian Chai of MMU

Upcoming Industry Talk on Lessons from the Agile Trenches by Diamantis Gikas (in German)

We will host an open questions and answers session on “lessons from the Agile trenches” in AMOS, our agile methods and open source course.

  • by: Diamantis Gikas of Siemens Digital Factory
  • about: Lessons from the Agile trenches
  • on: 2015-07-01, Wednesday, 10:15 – 11:45
  • at: Cauerstr. 7, Room 0.154-115
  • as part of: AMOS

Abstract: Veränderungen in Unternehmen erfordern oft einen Nachweis, dass die Einführung auch die Produktivität des Unternehmens steigert. In der Software Entwicklung tuen sich dabei zahlreiche Unternehmen schwer! Um eine Agilität erfolgreich einzuführen, ist es wie bei jedem Veränderungsprozess notwendig, klare Ziele zu definieren und diese nachhaltig zu verfolgen. Der Erfolg der Einführung lässt sich einfacher nachweisen, wenn die Ziele messbar sind. Bei dem Vortrag werden Erfahrungen und konkrete Beispiele vorgestellt.

Speaker: Hr. Diamantis Gikas (1966) hat an der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Informatik studiert (1990). Dabei waren seine Schwerpunkte die Programmiersprachen und ihre Compiler. Nach dem Studium war er bei Fa. SIEMENS zuerst als Softwareentwickler und danach als Führungskraft in unterschiedlichen Rollen (Systemarchitekt, Teilprojektleiter, Projektleiter, Abteilungsleiter) an unterschiedlichen Standorten (Erlangen, Karlsruhe, Nürnberg, Fürth, Johnson City/U.S.A. und Wien) der Forschungs- und Entwicklungsabteilung des Bereiches Automatisierungstechnik tätig. Innerhalb der Automatisierungstechnik ist er seitdem für die Softwareentwicklungsumgebung der Fertigungs-und Prozessleittechnik (SIMATIC) zuständig. Parallel ist er maßgeblich an der kontinuierlichen Prozessverbesserung des Softwarentwicklungsprozesses der Organisation beteiligt. Heute ist er Leiter im sog. Development House, wo die Entwicklung von Plattformen für die SIMATIC Software stattfindet.

Interview mit Prof. Riehle zu Open-Source-Geschäftsmodellen sowie Startupinformatik

Passend zur ersten Ausgabe mit unseren neuen Präsidenten, Prof. Joachim Hornegger, haben dann auch wir es in das Magazin der FAU geschafft (lokale Kopie). Wir sind sogar auf der Titelseite unten links gelandet! Konkret handelt es sich um ein Interview mit Prof. Riehle zum Thema Open-Source-Geschäftsmodelle. Ebenfalls kurz angeschnitten werden unsere Startupinformatik-Bemühungen, unternehmerisch gesinnte Studierendenteams zu Startups zu begleiten.

This Summer 2015 Semester’s Industry Speakers

The summer semester 2015 is shaping up nicely with several industry guest speaker appearances in our AMOS and PROD courses. Below is the line-up. Typically, these presentations are open to the public. In this case, they are not, because out class rooms are too full to accommodate any guests.

  • 2015-05-19: Matt Richards of OwnCloud on “Hard Software Marketing Choices” in PROD
  • 2015-06-24: Rolf Kintscher of Senacor on “Challenging Scrum” in AMOS
  • 2015-07-01: Diamantis Gikas of Siemens Automation on “Lessons from the Agile Trenches” in AMOS
  • 2015-07-08: Felix Mannewitz of Siemens Legal on “Open Source Governance” in AMOS

We are grateful to our industry partners for providing such an amazing line-up of speakers and we can’t wait to see and hear them in action!

Lessons from Netdosis CEO Markus Stipp

Today in PROD, our product management course, we studied the teaching case “Two-sided markets in the Internet age”, a case on FAU startup Netdosis and part of our growing teaching case collection PM by Case. After we finished our work, Netdosis CEO Markus Stipp took the stage and walked us through the critical decision stages of this startup, which was sold in 2014 to an established Berlin-based hospital software company. Thank you, Markus, for teaching us!


Recording of First Class Session of PROD Available

For students who missed the first day of class of PROD, our software product management course, we recorded the session. Please see here to view the session (Sadly, it will require Adobe Connect and also the microphone pick-up was pretty poor. I guess we will record it again next year.)

Final Thesis: Ein Lizenzintegrationsmodell für Offene Daten

Abstract: Heutzutage sind Datenservices so populär wie nie zuvor. Mehr und mehr Firmen integrieren Openstreetmap und andere Datenquellen in ihre Produkte oder Webseiten. Werden dabei mehrere verschiedene Quellen benutzt und deren Daten vermischt, folgen viele Fragen, welche die Integration dieser Daten betreffen. Aus diesen ergeben sich drei Problemfelder: Lizenzen, Kosten und Privatsphäre. Diese Arbeit bietet ein konzeptionelles Modell für den Lizenzaspekt, um Lizenzen vergleichen und kombinieren zu können. Hierbei werden die Lizenzen in die Bestandteile, Bedingungen und Einschränkungen zerlegt. Dabei folgt aus jeder Bedingung und jeder Einschränkung eine Eigenschaft unseres Modells. Desweiteren gibt es pro Eigenschaft eine Regel, welche das Verhalten der jeweiligen Eigenschaft bei der Verknüpfung von Lizenzen abbildet. Zusätzlich wurde das Modell in Java implementiert und mit verschiedenen Beispielen validiert. Dadurch wurde gezeigt, dass eine erste Einsch ̈atzung einer Lizenzkombination auf Basis des Modells möglich ist.

Keywords: Open data, Open Data Service, JValue

PDFs: Master Thesis, Work Description

Reference: Florian Wittmann. Ein Lizenzintegrationsmodell für Offene Daten. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2015.