A Community Strategy Framework –How to obtain Influence on Requirements in Meritocratic Open Source Software Communities?
Information and Software Technology
Context: In the Requirements Engineering (RE) process of an Open Source Software (OSS) community, an involved firm is a stakeholder among many. Conflicting agendas may create miss-alignment with the firm's internal requirements strategy. In communities with meritocratic governance or with aspects thereof, a firm has the opportunity to affect the RE process in line with their own agenda by gaining influence through active and symbiotic engagements. Objective: The focus of this study has been to
... dentify what aspects that firms should consider when they assess their need of influencing the RE process in an OSS community, as well as what engagement practices that should be considered in order to gain this influence. Method: Using a design science approach, 21 interviews with 18 industry professionals from 12 different software-intensive firms were conducted to explore, design and validate an artifact for the problem context. Results: A Community Strategy Framework (CSF) is presented to help firms create community strategies that describe if and why they need influence on the RE process in a specific (meritocratic) OSS community, and how the firm could gain it. The framework consists of aspects and engagement practices. The aspects help determine how important an OSS project and its community is from business and technical perspectives. A community perspective is used when considering the feasibility and potential in gaining influence. The engagement practices are intended as a tool-box for how a firm can engage with a community in order to build influence needed. Conclusion: It is concluded from interview-based validation that the proposed CSF may provide support for firms in creating and tailoring community strategies and help them to focus resources on communities that matter and gain the influence needed on their respective RE processes.