The Many Hats and the Broken Binoculars: State of the Practice in Developer Community Management

Title: The Many Hats and the Broken Binoculars: State of the Practice in Developer Community Management

Authors: Hanna Maenpaa:Helsinki University; Fabian Fagerholm:Helsinki University;
Myriam Munezero:Helsinki University; Tommi Mikkonen:Helsinki University

Abstract: Open Source Software developer communities are susceptible to challenges related to volatility, distributed coordination and the interplay between commercial and ideological interests. Here, community managers play a vital role in growing, shepherding, and coordinating the developers’ work. This study investigates the varied tasks that community managers perform to ensure the health and vitality of their communities. We describe the challenges managers face while directing the community and seeking support for their work from the analysis tools provided by state-of-the-art software platforms. Our results describe seven roles that community managers may play, highlighting the versatile and people-centric nature of the community manager’s work. Managers experience hardship of connecting their goals, questions and metrics that define a community’s health and effects of their actions. Our results voice common concerns among community managers, and can be used to help them structure the management activity and to find a theoretical frame for further research on how health of developer communities could be understood.

Download: This contribution is part of the OpenSym 2017 proceedings and is available as a PDF file.

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