The Impact of Release Management on Open-Source Software Co-Creation

43 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2018 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019

See all articles by Wei Chen

Wei Chen

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management

Vish Krishnan

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Kevin Zhu

University of California, San Diego

Date Written: March 5, 2018

Abstract

The open-source software (OSS) production model has been gaining ground and even expanding to a broader class of products. A central virtue of OSS is co-creation through contributions and feedback from the user community, yet our knowledge of how to coordinate and maximize the benefit of such co-creation for market success is limited. In this paper, we propose that deliberate product release timing can be an important capability to orchestrate open source community contributions and maximize their benefit. We develop, formalize, and estimate a dynamic structural model to study the impact of product release management as a coordinating mechanism in peer production. We find that a deliberate and moderate release frequency, contingent on the installed base of the project, its quality enhancement, and the license type of the software, contributes to project success. Our results show that it would be optimal for early-stage projects to release more often. As the installed base increases, it is beneficial to release less often. We also find that there exists a curvilinear (inverse-U) relationship between the release frequency and the community contributions. Hence, excessive releasing may risk exhausting the community. Furthermore, even though the project may benefit from a new release, there also exists a release cost. The OSS team then has to balance between the two by carefully managing the release pace. We also find that projects with different license types may have different optimal release timing. These results may have important implications for managing technology-enabled, crowd-based collaboration in open innovation communities beyond open-source software development, launch, and adoption.

Keywords: Peer Production, Open-Source Software, Release Management, Structural Modeling, Community Contributions, License, Downloads

Suggested Citation

Chen, Wei and Krishnan, Vish and Zhu, Kevin, The Impact of Release Management on Open-Source Software Co-Creation (March 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3135073 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3135073

Wei Chen (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Vish Krishnan

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Kevin Zhu

University of California, San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://rady.ucsd.edu/people/faculty/zhu/

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