Thursday, January 3, 2013

Measuring Success in OSS Projects

Ghapanchi, Aurum and Low (2011) collect open source software (OSS) literature and try to discover a commonality of the definition for success in OSS projects. The authors concentrated on OSS because it is unlike proprietary software due to its reliance on volunteer community members as developers, bug reporters, document writers, and troubleshooters. OSS projects have proven to be very beneficial and profitable; however, the majority of the OSS projects fail. The authors search through literature to find what makes certain OSS projects successful or at least a guage to measure the project's success.

The authors identified six broad measures for success in an OSS project. The measures included project activity, project efficiency, project effectiveness, project performance, user interest, and product quality. Ghapanchi, Aurum, and Low (2011) developed a chart that classified existing OSS literature into one of these six measures.

Additionally, they continued to define and explain the six measures. They describe project activity as one of the pillars of OSS project success. Activity stems production and growth along with product interests. Project efficiency involves maximum outputs from the projects available resources. Project effectiveness entails producing an effect or outcome. Project performance focuses on different measures to evaluate project outcomes during development. User interests are defined as the ability of an OSS project to attract community members to adopt the software. Finally, product quality deals with the software quality as an output from the development process.

Through these defined measures of success, the authors offer insight for both practitioners and researchers. The article offers an excellent resource for defining success and points to other excellent articles that I will read in the near future to grow my literature review.

Ghapanchi, A., Aurum, A., & Low, G. (2011). A taxonomy for measuring the success of open source software projects. First Monday, 16(8).

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