Do Communities in Developer Interaction Networks Align with Subsystem Developer Teams? An Empirical Study of Open Source Systems
Studies over the past decade demonstrated that developers contributing to open source software systems tend to self-organize in “emerging” communities. This latent community structure has a significant impact on software quality. While several approaches address the analysis of developer interaction networks, the question of whether these emerging communities align with the developer teams working on various subsystems remains unanswered. Work on socio-technical congruence implies that people that work on the same task or artifact need to coordinate and thus communicate, potentially forming stronger interaction ties. Our empirical study of 10 open source projects revealed that developer communities change considerably across a project’s lifetime (hence implying that relevant relations between developers change) and that their alignment with subsystem developer teams is mostly low. However, subsystems teams tend to remain more stable. These insights are useful for practitioners and researchers to better understand developer interaction structure of open source systems.