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TopCoder : Developing Software through Crowdsourcing. Karim R. Lakhani, David A. Garvin, Eric Lonstein Harvard Business School 31 May 2012 Yalçın YENİGÜN 04 November 2013. Managing TopCoder. The Supply Side :

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topcoder developing software through crowdsourcing

TopCoder : Developing Software through Crowdsourcing

Karim R. Lakhani, David A. Garvin, Eric Lonstein

Harvard Business School

31 May 2012

Yalçın YENİGÜN 04 November 2013

managing topcoder
Managing TopCoder

The Supply Side :

  • George Tsipolitis (Vice President) : «When you are managing a community, you are no longer managing indivituals. We can’t control individuals, we can only control the process of their participation.»
  • Risk: The community could be unforgiven
managing topcoder1
Managing TopCoder
  • Attraction:
    • TopCoder needed to have access to a critical mass of talent and coding capacity.
    • Solutions:
      • Algorithm contests
      • Paying for Google keyword searches using terms such as «design contests»
      • Member development days at international universities
managing topcoder2
Managing TopCoder
  • Norms:
    • TopCoder had to maintain the highest standarts of contest integrity, fairness, transparency and quality.
    • Ex: No tolerance to cheating
    • Using unauthorized code = eliminating from contest
    • Contest transparency: Storing all contests and statistics in a dataware house
managing topcoder3
Managing TopCoder
  • Governance:
    • TopCoder executives are responsible for final decisions
    • Executives got feedback from community by forums
    • Disagreement between contestant & reviewer: TopCoder employee and contestant investigated
managing topcoder4
Managing TopCoder
  • Resource allocation:
    • Controlling contest participation
    • Run contests concurrently
    • Not to act like a community boss
    • Hughes : «We don’t own this community. We want people to be here when they want to be here.»
managing topcoder5
Managing TopCoder
  • Retention:
    • TopCoder supply community members with consistent work streams and prize money
    • Get feedback for contests
    • Flexible working hours
    • Members can also develop TopCoder’s internal systems
managing topcoder6
Managing TopCoder

The Demand Side :

  • Platform Managers:
    • Provide project status updates to clients
    • Make suggestions for contest prize amounts
    • Define contest requirements
    • Support role after delivery
    • High Cost ($100.000 for year)
managing topcoder7
Managing TopCoder

The Demand Side :

  • TopCoder Direct:
    • Client used the company’s platform with little or no intervention (self-service)
    • Platform managers: educate clients to use platform
    • Platform managers: co-pilot
    • Reduce platform manager cost
future
Future
  • 2010 : revenue doubled
  • Competitions increased 30%
  • 275000 members
  • Contract with NASA
  • TopCoder Direct : driving 2010’s success
  • 2011 : more than 300000 members
  • Experienced copilots
future1
Future
  • RentACoder, Elance, oDesk: buy talent approach
  • Offering more money would increase participation
  • What would happen if TopCoder clients expanded?
  • What would happen if a company like Accenture started to develop software in the same way as TopCoder?
  • Would the TopCoder community remain intact?