Web application development projects by online communities: which practices favour innovation?
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This paper proposes an in-depth analysis of online communities of practice that support the innovative development of web applications. The analysis is aimed at understanding the preeminent characteristics of communities of practice that can favour the process of innovation (conceptualisation and realization of a web application) and if these characteristics differ in the diverse phases of a software development project (requirement specification, design, implementation and verification). We adopted a multiple case study research design. We selected 29 communities of practice related to the development of web applications. We classified them recognizing the different practices that refer to the different phases of the innovation process of web-applications software development. Finally, we focused on 7 communities comparing five important dimensions for each one. The results of the empirical analysis show that the best practices are different, considering the different phases of the project, and that these practices can be strategies directed at members to attract them or strategies directed at the community to permit collaboration.