Organizational Structure of Open Source Projects: A Life Cycle Approach

TitleOrganizational Structure of Open Source Projects: A Life Cycle Approach
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsWynn, DE
Secondary TitleProceedings of 7th Annual Conference of the Southern Association for Information Systems
Keywordsdivision of labor, downloads, growth, interview, leadership, life cycle, lifecycle, project success, roles, sourceforge, Survey

The structure of open source project communities is discussed in relation to the organizational life cycle. In lieu of sales figures, the download counts for each project are used to identify the life cycle stage of a random sample of open source projects. A research model is proposed that attempts to measure the fit between the life cycle stage and the specific organizational characteristics of these projects (focus, division of labor, role of the leader, level of commitment, and coordination/control) as an indicator of the success of a project as measured by the satisfaction and involvement of both developers and users.


"The three graphs in Figure 2 below were taken from smoothed download counts for existing open source projects on"
"A random sample of 150 open source projects will be taken from data provided by Each project will be evaluated to determine their current life cycle stage (where possible) using download counts. Next, the project admins, developers, and several identifiable users for each evaluated project will be contacted via email to request completing a brief questionnaire to measure the current focus of the project, formal structure, division of labor, leader role, coordination, level of commitment, user success, and developer success. "

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