Calculating the Costs of Inner Source Collaboration by Computing the Time Worked [HICSS 2022]

Abstract: A key part of taxation, controlling, and management of international collaborative programming workflows is determining the costs of a supplied software artifact. The OECD suggests the use of the Cost Plus method for calculating these costs. However, in the past, this method has been implemented using only coarse-grain data from the costs of whole organizational units. Due to the move to inner source software development, we need a much more fine-grain solution for computing the detailed time spent on programming specific components. This is necessary, because a more accurate work time distribution is required to fulfill the fiscal and administrative challenges posed by collaborating across organizational boundaries. In this article, we present a novel method to determine the time spent on an individual code contribution (commit) to a software component for use within cost calculation, especially for taxation purposes. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach by application to a real-world data set gathered at a large multi-national corporation. We evaluate our work through feedback received from this corporation and from the German Ministry of Finance.

Keywords: Inner source, transfer pricing, client-supplier relationship, cost plus method, commit transaction history

Reference: Buchner, S. & Riehle, D. (2022). Calculating the Costs of Inner Source Collaboration by Computing the Time Worked. In Proceedings of the 55th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2022), pp. 7466-7475.

The paper can be downloaded as a PDF file.

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