Socio-technical Congruence in OSS Projects: Exploring Conway’s Law in FreeBSD

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Abstract

Software development requires effective communication, coordination and collaboration among developers working on interdependent modules of the same project. The need for coordination is even more evident in open source projects where development is often more dispersed and distributed. In this paper, we study the match between the coordination needs established by the technical domain (i.e. source code) and the actual coordination activities carried out by the development team, such hypothetical match is also known as socio-technical congruence. We carry out our study by empirically examining Conway’s law in FreeBSD project. Our study shows that the congruence measure is significantly high in FreeBSD and that the congruence value remains stable as the project matured.