duction and service-dominant logic.
Prior life-cycle models are inadequate—mostly mute—on the concerns
of crowdsourcing, super-linear growth,
and change as a constant. While the
Metropolis Model is not a life-cycle
model, it does offer new ways to think
about how a new breed of system can
be developed; its principles help management shift to new project-management styles that take advantage of the
“wisdom of crowds.” The wrong model
or a misaligned model can mean disaster for an organization. The right
model—possibly requiring substantial organizational and technological
new opportunity. For example, IBM
(the most patent-productive company
in the world) now makes more money
from crowdsourced OSS-related services than from all its patent-protected
intellectual property, 4 even though the
shift to OSS was turbulent and controversial within IBM.
The Metropolis Model provides a
framework within which organizations
are able to reason about all aspects of
how they create systems, including tool
support, languages, training, resource
allocation and management, and personal motivation. The principles of
the Metropolis Model are useful as a
critical set of questions for examining
the alignment of system-development
activities with the underlying business model. Business-model questions
come first: Who are our customers?
What value can be co-created by and
for them? What motivation can I offer to engage them for the long term?
Answers prompt a new set of system-development questions: How can customer participation be engaged? How
can the infrastructure be bifurcated?
What technological or system competency must be developed to facilitate
engagement and custodianship of the
system? What policies must be established to safeguard the community?
To answer, organizations must identify
the characteristics of their systems and
reconsider their business and development models.
Metropolis Model concepts are not
appropriate for all forms of development. Smaller systems with limited
scope will continue to benefit from the
conceptual integrity that accompanies
small, cohesive teams. High-security
and safety-critical systems and systems
built around protected intellectual
property will continue to be built in
traditional ways for the foreseeable future. But more and more crowdsourcing, mashups, open source, and other
forms of nontraditional development
are being harnessed for value co-creation. The Metropolis Model speaks to
all of them. For example, mashups are
beginning to be observed and supported even in the extremely conservative
financial sphere. 6
Embracing the Metropolis Model
requires dramatic changes to accepted software-engineering practices.
Organizations must be prepared to
adopt new organizational structures,
processes, and tools to support these
changes. Each Metropolis principle is,
to some degree, counterintuitive relative to existing software-engineering
practices. Management must therefore
guard against old habits and foster a
new mindset to deal with unknown
people in open teams, embrace incomplete requirements, accept sufficient
correctness, and anticipate and tolerate emergent behavior.
Much more research is needed to
understand and capitalize on the relatively new form of commons-based
peer production. We offer the Metropolis Model as a foundation on which
subsequent research and life-cycle
models can be built.
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Rick Kazman ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor in the
Department of Information Technology Management in
the Shidler College of Business at the University of hawaii,
honolulu, hI, and a visiting scientist at the Software
Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University,
Hong-Mei Chen ( email@example.com) is a professor
of IT management in the Department of Information
Technology Management in the Shidler College
of Business at the University of hawaii at Manoa,
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