Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Success in Online Production Systems:
A Longitudinal Analysis of the Socio-Technical
Duality of Development Projects

Claudia Müller-Birn, Marcelo Cataldo,
Patrick Wagstrom*, James D. Herbsleb

November 2010


Keywords: Online production systems success, Product structure, Collaboration networks, Coordination requirements networks, Dynamic network analysis

Online production systems represent a new and innovative approach for producing information goods. However, the success of such endeavors depends on a careful interrelationship between their social and technical dimensions. In this paper, we explore how various aspects of those dimensions impact the success of online production systems. We collected data from the open source community GNOME and we used the inclusion of a product into an official release as indicator for the success of a project. Our analyses revealed that structural characteristics of the individual project‚s communication and task dependency (coordination needs) networks, the position of individuals in the overall ecosystem communication network as well as the technical structure of the product, are all significantly associated with project success. Our novel results represent an important step in understanding the success drivers of online production systems as well as a starting point for reshaping traditional models for producing information goods typically used in corporate settings.

17 pages

*IBM Research

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