Design Implications Dissertation Chapter – Discussion

Design Implications

  1. People subsystem.

People subsystems constitute individuals who have specific mentoring roles and learners who seek knowledge through the online mentoring platform (Sogol, Igor, Umayal, Anita, & Marco, 2018).The e-mentoring opportunities mapped onto people subsystem are mentors’ opportunity, mentees opportunity, and mentors’ and mentees opportunities. Mentors’ opportunities involves interpersonal connection and understanding, and facilitating individual learning. Interpersonal connection offer experienced developer the opportunity to offer technical advice and technical and support to inexperienced developers, while individual learning offers developer the opportunity to connect and learn from each other.   Mentees opportunities encompasses better understanding of complex contribution, improvement of community structure understanding and reducing barriers for initial interactions to the community. As a result of knowledge and experience gained through interaction, mentees adapt to understand complex codes provided by other developers.  They also get to identify the best mentors the can associate with and minimize barriers the newcomers experience. The opportunities shared by both mentors and mentees are expert-mentee relationship building, continuous learning and interpersonal ties.

The e-mentoring challengers associated with people subsystems include: 1) resources and tools (project planning hurdles, time lag between queries and response, and lack of specific mentoring communication channel), 2) mentor-mentee relationship (Mentors and mentees skills level, and Cultural background and language differences), and 3) finding mentors (lack of online profile visibility). When project members fail to plan, they risk missing the project goals. This subsystem contains ensure information available on the platform is of high quality that matches the current online versions, identify and correct information duplicates, and eliminating inconsistent and incorrect information. The system also present a uniform platform that supports participants from varying background and support structured browsing to enable mentees find mentors easily.

  1. Technology subsystem.

The technology subsystem contains software tools and other systems that facilitate the integration of additional functions to the online mentoring platform (Sogol, Igor, Umayal, Anita, & Marco, 2018).The technology subsystems opportunities comprises of mentors’ opportunity (Interpersonal connection improvement and Facilitating individual’s learning), mentees’ opportunity (Reducing entry barriers for initial interactions to the community), and mentors and mentees opportunities (cultural difference understanding). The interconnection offers developers aid mentees in gaining skills, while mentors can transfer knowledge easily (Sogol, Igor, Umayal, Anita, & Marco, 2018). Mentees benefit from individual learning by getting their work reviewed and corrected by experienced developers. Mentees also get the relevant guidance to avoid entry level barriers rampant with newcomers and allow participants to come together regardless of their cultural background.

The challenges faced by e-mentoring users with regard to technology subsystem revolves around resources and tools. The challengers here includes project planning huddles, lack of mentoring task management tools and lack of specific mentors/mentee matching tools. Planning involves building a good project roadmap and distribution of roles when beginning e-mentoring. The tool available to the online community is also ineffective or cannot match mentor/mentee appropriately. Furthermore, the lack of administrative tools is one challenge which persist in online mentoring communities as result of limited feedback and question prioritization (Alexandre, Leticia, & Igor, 2018).

  1. Infrastructure (online community) subsystem.

The e-mentoring opportunities mapped under infrastructure subsystem include mentors opportunism (e.g. Interpersonal connection improvement and Facilitating individual’s learning), mentee opportunities (e.g. Better understanding of complex contribution, Improvement of community structure understanding, Reduce entry barriers for initial interactions to the community and Adaptation of communication practices), and mentors and mentee opportunities(Experts-Mentee relationship building, Continuous learning and Cultural difference understanding). Interpersonal connection in this context enables mentees to acquire job skills faster, while developers in FLOSS learn through interaction with other project managers. The subsystem provides a platform for mentor-mentee to interact and share knowledge and experience.  The mentees also get to identify the appropriate mentor they can associate with, mentors also identify a set of talented coders they can nature.  Furthermore, the subsystem offers mentees the opportunity to communicate with other developer using technical language or with mentors. Through interaction on the platform, mentees learn to appreciate varying cultural background and build healthy relationship with other experts.

E-mentoring challenges mapped to infrastructure subsystem include resources and tools (e.g. Information management barriers, Lack of mentoring task management tools, Lack of specific mentoring communication channels, Lack of specific mentors /mentee matching tools), mentor-mentee relationship (e.g. Mentors and mentees skills level), and finding mentors (e.g. Lack of rewards for mentors, Lack of formal mentorship programs, and Lack of online profile visibility). The online community is motivated by platform issues such as available online tools for sharing information privately, continuous feedback and complete information. Inadequate or lack of the tools or information’s easily put away mentees and can hinder their integration into the online community.  Therefore, the subsystem provide coders access to a variety of programming tools and project breakdown into milestone to enable newcomers to comprehend content faster. Furthermore, it entails recommendation and rewards for those doing commendable works including profiling heir details for online visibility.

  1. Processes and Procedural subsystem.

The opportunities mapped to processes and procedural subsystem includes mentors’ opportunities (e.g. Professional reputation enhancement, Job satisfaction improvement and Interpersonal connection improvement), mentees’ opportunity (Improvement of community structure understanding), and mentors and mentee opportunities (Involvement in transparency of activities). This subsystem contains a good project roadmap including the induction process at the beginning of online mentoring or collaboration and learning materials for gauging and enhancing the level of expertise and interpersonal competence. It allows participants to increase their satisfaction through improved understanding of social support and technical expertise, and promote transparency since work by individual can be viewed by all.

The challenges under this subsystem were mapped from resources and tools barriers.  They include project planning huddles, information management barriers, information quality barriers, time lag between query and response, and lack of specific mentors/mentee matching tools. This subsystem contains a good project roadmap including the induction process at the beginning of online mentoring or collaboration and learning materials for gauging and enhancing the level of expertise and interpersonal competence (Alexandre, Leticia, & Igor, 2018). It provides practical guides on the use of tools and online platforms, a list of task flow based on ability and interpersonal competence, task scheduling for coordinated work, information about documentation made available by the project, and permission to make future edits or updates and verification of data by experts.

  1. Culture subsystem.

The opportunities mapped onto culture subsystem includes mentees opportunities (Adaptation of communication practices) and mentors and mentees opportunities (Cultural difference understanding) The young developers are able to take part in constructive online mentoring activities by developing cohesive identity, undertake various roles and participate actively through informal interaction. Hence, the platform offers developers the freedom to interact irrespective of the language level or level of expertise. They overcome cultural and language differences as a result of virtual meeting offered through the platform.

The challenges mapped to culture subsystem is mentor-mentee relationship (cultural background and language differences). The subsystem supports multiple languages to aid understanding by various cultures. Similar to the infrastructure subsystem, it contains email or IRC communication channel to enable users to choose whichever means they feel comfortable. It also provides advanced peer search function to enhance communication between individuals with similar levels, advanced peer search function to improve the connection between individuals with similar levels, and regional mailing list functions to reduce cultural or language differences and auto-translation function. Thus, minimizing barriers related to cultural, background and language differences.

  1. Goals or Metrics subsystems

The mentors’ opportunity (e.g. Professional reputation enhancement and Facilitating individual’s learning), mentees opportunity (e.g. Better understanding of complex contribution and Improvement of community structure understanding), and mentors and mentees opportunities (Experts-Mentee relationship building) were mapped onto the goals or metrics subsystem. Competence in e-mentoring reflects success, hence, mentors work towards minimizing failure by breaking tasks into millstones with clear goals.  Mentees and mentors are also expected to understand technical language used in the platform to breakdown tasks into simpler sub-sections. Mentors are also offered the opportunity to identify and choose the best skill they can associate with and nature.

The challenge mapped to this subsystem is resources and tools (project huddles). Within clear and organized professional content, goals and success metrics, mentors and mentees are pointed toward appropriate information resulting in increased self-efficacy (Igor, Tayana, & Christoph, 2016). Therefore, the solution averts project planning hurdles that result from poor project management and unclear objectives.



Alexandre, L. Z., Leticia, M., & Igor, S. (2018). Competence, Collaboration,and Time Management: Barriers and Recommendations for Crowdworkers. ACM/IEEE 5th International Workshop on Crowd Sourcing in Software Engineering, 11-14.

Igor, S., Tayana, U. C., & Christoph, C. M. (2016). Overcoming Open Source Project Entry Barriers with a Portal for Newcomers . IEEE/ACM 38th IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, 274-278.

Sogol, B., Igor, S., Umayal, A., Anita, S., & Marco, A. G. (2018). Newcomers’Barriers…IsThatAll?AnAnalysis of Mentors’ and Newcomers’ Barriers in OSS Projects. Spring science + Business Media B.V, 685-699.




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