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Research Paper: 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 families, platform-based product engineering, open source, open collaboration,
case study research

Reference: Dirk Riehle, Maximilian Capraro, Detlef Kips and Lars Horn, “Inner Source in Platform-Based Product Engineering.” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 42, no. 12, pp. 1162-1177. IEEE, 2016.

This paper is available as PDF file. An earlier version is available on FAU’s OPUS server.

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