Stigmergic coordination in FLOSS development teams: Integrating explicit and implicit mechanisms

Francesco Bolici, James Howison, Kevin Crowston
  • Cognitive Systems Research, June 2016, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2015.12.003

Stigmergic coordination in free/libre/open source software development teams

What is it about?

Based on research about Free/Libre Open Source Software development, we posit another mode of coordination between explicit and tacit, namely, stigmergic coordination. Stigmergic coordination means coordination that uses signs as a way to communicate, in this case, changes in the system source code to communicate between developers. The paper develops the argument for stigmergic coordination and discusses how it might be supported in other settings.

Why is it important?

FLOSS development has been exceptionally successful even when developers are distributed with few opportunities for direct interaction. The use of stigmergic coordination seems to be part of the explanation for this success. Given the growing use of FLOSS, understanding how it is developed is important on its on. And if we better understood the conditions necessary to enable stigmergic coordination, we might be able to use it in other settings as well.

The following have contributed to this page: Kevin Crowston