Five Stages of Open Source Volunteering


Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm


Symantec vCafe

Symantec vCafe
350 Ellis Street
Mountain View, CA 94043

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Professor Dr. Dirk Riehle

Event Details

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Today’s software systems build on open source software. Thus, we need to understand how to successfully create, nurture, and mature the software  development communities of these open source projects. In this presentation, we review and discuss best practices of the open source volunteering and  recruitment process that successful project leaders are using to lead their projects to success. We combine the perspective of the volunteer, looking at a project, with the perspective of a project leader, looking to find additional volunteers for the project. We identify a five-stage process consisting of a connecting, understanding, engaging, performing, and leading stage. The underlying best practices, when applied, significantly increase the chance of an open source project being successful.

Speaker Bio

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle is the Professor for Open Source Software at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Before joining academia, Riehle led the Open Source Research Group at SAP Labs, LLC, in Palo Alto, California (Silicon Valley). Before this, he was the co-founder of an on-demand business software startup in Berlin, Germany, which used agile methods and strategically employed open source software. Riehle is interested in open source software engineering and agile methods, complexity science and human collaboration, as well as software design. Prof. Riehle holds a Ph.D. in computer science from ETH Zürich and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School. He welcomes email at, blogs at, and tweets as @dirkriehle.

In more detail: Riehle’s dissertation at ETH Zurich on object-oriented frameworks and design patterns explored the use of collaboration-based design (then called role modeling) to reduce complexity in the engineering of object-oriented software systems. It emphasized the use of design patterns in framework design and construction. He also translated the seminal Design Patterns book into German, all while employed at UBS’ Ubilab, a Zurich-based industrial research lab, during the late 1990s. From 1999 to 2002, Riehle lead the design and implementation of the first UML virtual machine while employed at Skyva, a Boston-based software startup. The UML VM interpreted UML models as programs and made it faster, better, and cheaper to develop business applications. UML was treated as a framework for domain-specific languages for different aspects of business modeling. Skyva was acquired by ABB. After receiving an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School, Riehle co-founded a software startup in Berlin, Germany that provided on-demand software (SaaS) to small businesses. In 2006, he moved back to the United States to work for SAP in the Silicon Valley, where he was the principal investigator of open source and Web 2.0 applications research. In 2009 he moved to Germany for his current position as a professor at the University of Erlangen.

Riehle has published in leading journals and conferences, including the CACM, Computer, IEEE Software, OOPSLA, ICSE, and OSS. His publication record comprises more than 50 peer-reviewed and well-cited academic papers. He is serving on the editorial boards of TPLoP, IJOSSP and IJODE and he has been a reviewer for many leading journals, transactions, and conferences on object orientation and software engineering, including ACM TOSEM, IEEE TSE, OOPSLA, ECOOP, and OSS. He is the founder and chairman of the steering committee of the International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration conference series and a founding member of the steering committee of the Onward! conference series. He is a member emeritus of the board and prior treasurer of the Hillside Group, the U.S.-based non-profit behind the software patterns community. He is a frequent speaker at academic conferences and colloquia and industry events alike.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle is a senior member of the ACM and a professional member of the IEEE. For more details, please see

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