Bringing Open Source Best Practices into Corporations Using a Software Forge

You may have noticed our work on improving corporate software development at SAP using an in-house software forge. The main benefit is in transferring open source best practices to our software development processes. At an upcoming industry conference presentation I’ll be talking about some of the lessons we learned. Here is the abstract of the talk:

Abstract: A software forge is a tools platform for collaborative software development, similar to integrated CASE environments. Unlike CASE tools software forges have been designed for the software development practices of the open source community. Open source software projects succeed where waterfall and agile methods fail: They can cope with changing requirements and they can scale to large project sizes. Thus, corporate software development can learn from open source best practices. In this presentation, I discuss our experiences with using a software forge to bring open source best practices into SAP. We present the design principles and benefits of a firm-internal software forge, and we present a case study of how one project inside SAP benefited significantly from being on the forge.

Reference: Dirk Riehle. “Bringing Open Source Best Practices into Corporations Using a Software Forge.” Talk at SEACON 2009. Hamburg, Germany: 2009.

Open Collaboration within Corporations Using Software Forges (Abstract)

Abstract: Over the past 10 years, open source software has become an important cornerstone of the software industry. Commercial users have adopted it in standalone applications, and software vendors are embedding it in products. Surprisingly then, from a commercial perspective, open source software is developed differently from how corporations typically develop software. Research into how open source works has been growing steadily. One driver of such research is the desire to understand how commercial software development could benefit from open source best practices. Do some of these practices also work within corporations? If so, what are they, and how can we transfer them?

Keywords: Inner source, firm-internal open source, corporate source, software forge, open collaboration, open source.

Reference: Dirk Riehle, John Ellenberger, Tamir Menahem, Boris Mikhailovski, Yuri Natchetoi, Barak Naveh, Thomas Odenwald. “Open Collaboration within Corporations Using Software Forges.” IEEE Software, vol. 26, no. 2 (March/April 2009). Page 52-58.

Available as HTML or as a PDF file.

Open Collaboration: Self-Organizing Innovation in Large Corporations

Author: Dirk Riehle, SAP Research, SAP Labs LLC

Reference: Steven Fraser (editor). “Escaped from the Lab: Innovation Practices in Large Organizations.” In Companion of the 2008 Conference on Object Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA ’08). ACM Press, 2008: Pages 787-790.

Available as a PDF file; my part follows as HTML below.

Position statement for the OOPSLA 2008 Panel on Innovation Practices in Large Corporations

In most companies, the innovation process is organized as follows: A research unit suggests to build a prototype of some innovative product or feature, a line-of-business sponsor signs off on the project, the research unit develops the prototype, a product unit receives it and turns it into a real product.

The critical point is the transfer from research to product unit. Here, many things can go wrong, for example:

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