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Thesis Change Agent

The goal of this thesis is to introduce a process improvement into a number of Open Source projects and qualitatively analyse the resulting events within the project.

Structure of the Thesis

  • Before the beginning of this thesis it is important to become intimate with both the Open Source development process and the process improvement that is scheduled for introduction in the processes.
  • To achieve this goal a literature survey and a mini-study will preceed this thesis. The goal of the mini-project is to document the introduction of an enhanced version control tool (SVN) within three projects. The student should learn to work with mailing-list data and qualitative data-analysis, become familiar with the communication and power-structures in OSS projects.
  • The student then has to understand the process improvement and be able to implement the technical aspects of the improvement.
  • After this projects will be chosen with the advisor and assessed for applicability.
  • The projects are analysed regarding the variables that affect improvement:
    • Mapping of the social and technical structure using CVS and mailing-list data into graphical or tabular representations (who does what how much...).
    • Providing a little historical overview over the projects.
  • The student then contacts the projects and asks to implement the process improvement:
  • As a given theorethical base the student can use the work of Denning and Dunham (2006):
    • Demonstrating Value
    • Becoming aware of power structures and community interests
    • Aligning action plans for coherence with existing practices, concerns, interests and adoption rate
    • Develop a marketing strategy for different groups
    • Recruiting allies
    • Overcoming resistance
  • The student actively pursuits the process improvement for 4 weeks during which he gathers as much qualitative information about the activities as possible.
  • The student then analyses the data and summarizes it in an presentable way.


This thesis is offered by Christopher Oezbek and Lutz Prechelt.


Topic revision: r3 - 25 Oct 2006, oezbekPCPOOL.MI.FU-BERLIN.DE
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