The distributed open source software development model: observations on communication, coordination and control
There are many reasons why an organisation should consider adopting distributed development of software systems and applications, including access to a larger labour pool and a broader skills base, cost advantages, and round the clock working. However, distributed development presents many challenges stemming from the complexity of maintaining good communication, coordination and control when teams are dispersed in time (e.g. across time zones) and space, as well as socioculturally. The open source software (OSS) development model is distributed by nature, and many OSS developments are considered success stories. The question therefore arises of whether traditional distributed development models can be improved by transfer of successful practice from OSS development models. In this paper we compare OSS with traditional distributed development models using a framework-based analysis of the extant literature. From our analysis we find that the advantages of temporal and geographical distance dominate in OSS, rather than their associated problems. Further, socio-cultural distance is lowered by active developer selection. However, there is a challenge to satisfying project goals when personal goals dominate.
Lundell, Bjorn; Lings, Brian; Agerfalk, Par J.; and Fitzgerald, Brian, "The distributed open source software development model: observations on communication, coordination and control" (2006). ECIS 2006 Proceedings. 41.