Nowadays, many software projects are partially or completely open-source based. There is an increasing need for companies to participate in open-source software (OSS) projects, e.g., in order to benefit from open source ecosystems. OSS projects introduce particular challenges that have to be understood in order to gain the benefits. One such challenge is getting newcomers onboard into the projects effectively. Similar challenges may be present in other self-organised, virtual team environments. In this paper we present preliminary observations and results of in-progress research that studies the process of on boarding into virtual OSS teams. The study is based on a program created and conceived at Stanford University in conjunction with Facebook’s Education Modernization program. It involves the collaboration of more than a dozen international universities and nine open source projects. More than 120 students participated in 2013. The students have been introduced to and supported by mentors experienced in the participating OSS projects. Our findings indicate that mentoring is an important factor for effective onboarding in OSS projects, promoting cohesion within distributed teams and maintaining an appropriate pace.
Fabian Fagerholm, Patrik Johnson, Alejandro Sanchez Guinea (University of Helsinki), Jay Borenstein (Stanford University), Jurgen Munch (University of Helsinki): Onboarding in Open Source Software Projects: A Preliminary Analysis