The Dos and Don’ts of Crowdsourcing Software Development

B. Fitzgerald and K. Stol (2015) The Dos and Don’ts of Crowdsourcing Software Development, Proceedings SOFSEM 2015, LNCS 8939, pp. 58-64

In 1957, the eminent computer scientist, Edsger W. Dijkstra, sought to record his profession as “Computer Programmer” on his marriage certificate. The Dutch authorities, although probably more progressive than most, refused on the grounds that there was no such profession. Ironically, just a decade later, the term “software crisis” had been coined, as delegates at a NATO Conference in Garmisch [1] reported a common set of problems, namely that software took too long to develop, cost too much to develop, and the software which was eventually delivered did not meet user expectations. Despite the advances in technology over the past 50 years, this remains problematic, as evidenced by the following quote from the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) in 2012.

“The problem of predictable development of software with the intended functionality that is reliable, secure and efficient remains one of the most important problems in [ICT]”

A number of initiatives have emerged over the years to address the software crisis. Outsourcing of the software development activity has been on the increase in recent years according to US and European reports. However, in many cases outsourcing of software development has not been successful [2,3]. The success of the open source movement which has proven surprisingly successful at developing high quality software in a cost effective manner [4] has been an inspiration for a number of specific forms of software outsourcing, including opensourcing [5], innersourcing [6] and crowdsourcing [7].


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