The role of mentoring and project characteristics for onboarding in open source software projects

Fabian Fagerholm*, Alejandro S. Guinea, Jürgen Münch, Jay Borenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

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

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: Onboarding is a process that helps newcomers become integrated members of their organisation. Successful onboarding programs can result in increased performance in conventional organisations, but there is little guidance on how to onboard new developers in Open Source Software (OSS) projects. Goal: In this study, we examine how mentoring and project characteristics influence the effectiveness and efficiency of the onboarding process. We study a collaboration program involving a total of nine Open Source Software projects and more than 120 students from different universities around the world as part of Facebook's Education Modernization Program. Method: We use quantitative measurements of source code repositories, issue tracking systems, and discussion fora to examine how newcomers become contributing members of their OSS projects. Results: We found that developers receiving deliberate onboarding support through mentoring were more active at an earlier stage than developers entering projects through conventional means. Also, we found that project size and lifetime influenced onboarding. Conclusion: Empirical decision support can contribute to a more effective onboarding process in OSS projects. Mentor support in critical stages can accelerate the process, but project maturity is also a significant factor that increases the effect of onboarding.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781450327749
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement - Torino, Italy
Duration: 18 Sep 201419 Sep 2014
Conference number: 8

Publication series

NameInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
ISSN (Print)1949-3770
ISSN (Electronic)1949-3789

Conference

ConferenceInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Abbreviated titleESEM
CountryItaly
CityTorino
Period18/09/201419/09/2014

Keywords

  • case study
  • distributed development
  • mentoring
  • onboarding
  • open source software
  • organisational socialisation
  • software teams

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