Defence: Socio-technical congruence – an implicit driving force for OSS project evolution

In the wake of Tuukka, MSc. M.M. Mahbubul Syeed defended his dissertation titled “On the Socio-Technical Dependencies in Free/Libre/Open Source Software Projects”

Open Source Software (OSS) has risen as a SW business and development model alongside the more traditional proprietary in-house development. OSS development, like any software development, is a socio-technical endeavour and thus non-trivial.

The community driven approach of OSS development is a collaborative effort, in which technical prowess goes hand in hand with the efficient coordination and management of a large number of social and interpersonal interactions across the development organization. The so called Conway’s law recognises that there is a correlation between the structure of a software product and the communication structures in the development organization. Thus, developers working on related software artifacts need adequate communication and collaboration at the organizational level for the successful evolution of the project. In his dissertation, Mahbubul has investigated OSS projects regarding the possible good socio-technical fit – congruence – between the coordination structure mandated by the technical tasks and the actual social organization, as expressed, for example, by the communication paths observed among its members. Mahbubul proposes novel methods to quantitatively measure this socio-technical congruence to help minimize collaboration gaps.

Mahbubul and the opponent discussing the dissertation. Custos Imed Hammouda listening with interest.

Mahbubul and the opponent discussing the dissertation. Custos Imed Hammouda listening with interest.

Associate Professor Ioannis Stamelos from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, acted as the opponent. He made several observations on the work which Mahbubul defended very well. Associate Professor Imed Hammouda currently in Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg acted as the custos. Imed is also affiliated as Adjunct Professor with the Department of Pervasive Computing and has worked in the department for several years.

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