Crowdsourcing paper at ICSE 2014

Crowdsourcing paper at the ICSE 2014 Conference (Technical Track), Hyderabad. 

Preprint of paper here:  pdf doc


Crowdsourcing is an emerging and promising approach which
involves delegating a variety of tasks to an unknown workforce—
the crowd. Crowdsourcing has been applied quite successfully in
various contexts from basic tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk to
solving complex industry problems, e.g. InnoCentive. Companies
are increasingly using crowdsourcing to accomplish specific software
development tasks. However, very little research exists on
this specific topic. This paper presents an in-depth industry case
study of crowdsourcing software development at a multinational
corporation. Our case study highlights a number of challenges that
arise when crowdsourcing software development. For example,
the crowdsourcing development process is essentially a waterfall
model and this must eventually be integrated with the agile
approach used by the company. Crowdsourcing works better for
specific software development tasks that are less complex and
stand-alone without interdependencies. The development cost was
much greater than originally expected, overhead in terms of company
effort to prepare specifications and answer crowdsourcing
community queries was much greater, and the time-scale to complete
contests, review submissions and resolve quality issues was
significant. Finally, quality issues were pushed later in the lifecycle
given the lengthy process necessary to identify and resolve
quality issues. Given the emphasis in software engineering on
identifying bugs as early as possible, this is quite problematic.