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Insights from the State of Inner Source 2021

The InnerSource Commons is the world’s largest community of InnerSource pracftitioners. Founded in 2015, its goal is to create and share knowledge about InnerSource (or inner source): the use of open source best practices for software development within the confines of an organization. In a previous post, we discussed InnerSource and its benefits.

To get current trends on InnerSource, the community ran a survey in early 2022 and reached 125 respondents. You can find the full report here. It brings meaningful data that won’t be fully covered in this post, as the report itself is accessible and complete. This post covers some key insights from the report.

#1 Knowledge sharing and removing silos are the top motivations for adopting Inner Source.

InnerSource motivations

Improving developers’ productivity and code quality also stand as motivations. Companies often lack perceptions of the impact and benefits of knowledge sharing, and those answers support the idea that a direct relationship between knowledge sharing and software quality makes sense.

#2 Inner Source, through knowledge sharing, has social benefits

InnerSource impact

In addition to boosting learning and improving code quality, InnerSource fosters social interactions between developers and creates opportunities to talk to each other. This is a non-negligible impact on people’s wellness in the organization and prevents turnover risks.

#3 Inner Source breaks silos and supports innovation

That’s what respondents reported from the measurable progress. Not all respondents have defined a methodology to measure progress, so in most cases, it remains qualitative.

InnerSource benefits

#4 Inner Source is still in progress

InnerSource health

Only 38,9 % claim to be actively implementing an InnerSource program, and the majority have either an unofficial, “to be started” or “under study” program. To give a comparison, the latest StackOverflow 2022 report claims that 16% of the companies have an InnerSource program.

We also note that only 22,5% adopted InnerSource for more than five years. So this is still a movement in progress in IT companies.

InnerSource health

At Packmind, as we promote best coding practices, reuse, and sharing among developers, we look forward to the following years to get insights into how Inner Source adoption evolves in our industry. If you’re interested in interacting with the community, you can join their public Slack.