Research Paper: Calculating the Costs of Inner Source Collaboration by Computing the Time Worked

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 Stefan and Dirk Riehle. 2022. Calculating the Costs of Inner Source Collaboration by Computing the Time Worked. Proceedings of the 55th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2022), Virtual.

A preprint of the paper is available as PDF.

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