Understanding and Supporting the Choice of an Appropriate Task to Start With In Open Source Software Communities

TitleUnderstanding and Supporting the Choice of an Appropriate Task to Start With In Open Source Software Communities
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSteinmacher, Igor, Conte Tayana, and Gerosa MarcoAurélio
Secondary TitleHawaii International Conference on System Sciences 48
Pagination5299-5308
PublisherIEEE
Keywordscoordination, joining process, new developer, newcomers, onboarding, open source software, task selection
Abstract

Open Source Software (OSS) projects leverage the
contribution of outsiders. In fact, the sustainability of
many projects relies on retaining some of these
newcomers. Usually these communities do not
coordinate the work of the newcomers, who go to the
issue trackers and self-select a task to start with. We
found that “finding a way to start” was reported as an
important issue by practitioners. To further investigate
this specific barrier, we conducted a qualitative
analysis with data obtained from semi-structured
interviews with 36 subjects from 14 different projects,
including newcomers and experienced members. We
used procedures of Grounded Theory – open and axial
coding – to analyze the data. We found that newcomers
are not confident enough to choose their initial task
and they need information about the tasks or direction
from the community to support choosing a task more
suitable for them. We also present a set of strategies
identified in the literature, interviews, and state-of-the practice
that can provide newcomers with such
information, enabling them to be more confident when
choosing their first tasks and collaborate with the
community.

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