Dirk Riehle's Industry and Research Publications

Inner source in platform-based product engineering [TSE Journal]


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 product line 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 in its adoption. Finally, the article presents our conclusions on how these organizations should adapt their existing engineering efforts.


Inner source, inner source foundation, product-line engineering, software platforms, engineering productivity


Riehle, D., Capraro, M., Kips, D., & Horn, L. (2016). Inner Source in Platform-Based Product Engineering. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering vol. 42, no. 12 (December 2016), 1162-1177.


The paper is available as a PDF file.

Newsletter subscription


  1. […] organizations into a separate platform organization that feeds the products creates many problems. According to our research, the top three problems […]

  2. […] product units on top of a product line platform; inner source can play well here, see our paper on inner source in product line engineering. A key assumption and complexity reduction here is that the product line is owned by one business […]

  3. […] ago we analysed several highly successful software product lines. You can find the details in our corresponding publication. We had been brought in, because the business owners of each product line felt that something was […]

  4. […] This early technical report was superseded by the final publication on inner source in platform-based product engineering. […]

  5. […] 2016. The under­ly­ing Trans­ac­tions on Soft­ware Engi­neer­ing (TSE) paper is avail­able here. More on inner source […]

  6. […] This preprint was super­seded by the final pub­li­ca­tion on inner source in plat­form-based prod­uct engi­neer­ing. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Share the joy

Share on LinkedIn

Share by email

Share on X (Twitter)

Share on WhatsApp

Featured startups

QDAcity makes collaborative qualitative data analysis fun and easy.
EDITIVE makes document collaboration more effective.

Featured projects

Making free and open data easy, safe, and reliable to use
Bringing business intelligence to engineering management
Making open source in products easy, safe, and fun to use