The many hats and the broken binoculars: State of the practice in developer community management

Hanna Maenpaa*, Myriam Munezero, Fabian Fagerholm, Tommi Mikkonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Symposium on Open Collaboration, OpenSym 2017
ISBN (Electronic)9781450351874
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Symposium on Open Collaboration - Galway, Ireland
Duration: 23 Aug 201725 Aug 2017
Conference number: 13


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Open Collaboration
Abbreviated titleOpenSym


  • Community management
  • Human factors
  • Open source


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