How Software Product Management becomes Software Platform Management in Software Ecosystems
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The object under study is the state of the art of Software Product Management (SPM); a competence model and maturity matrix that aids software product organizations in improving their SPM practices. The objective was to investigate if and how the model and matrix had to be changed for keystone product software organizations (i.e. platform developers) with a directed Software Ecosystem (SECO) approach. It was not clear if it consisted of all practices relevant for this approach. First, by conducting a literature study on the topics of SPM, SECOs and related research domains, candidate changes are elicited that could be necessary. Second, eleven structured interviews are conducted with product managers working in the Dutch product software industry. They were asked to evaluate and change the competence model and maturity matrix for keystones with a directed SECO approach. For all changes made to the model and matrix applied, if a majority of the interviewees altered the same thing it is processed into the model and matrix. Changes that were not performed by a majority, but were suggested by two or more product managers, are presented to and evaluated by the eleven product managers via a questionnaire in a second round of data collection. Third, during the interviews the product managers were asked to determine if and how the candidate changes needed to become part of the model as well. During this study is concluded that SPM of a keystone with a directed SECO approach needs to be called Software Platform Management (SPfM). The result of this study is a SPfM Competence Model and SPfM Maturity Matrix. It differs from the current competence model and maturity matrix in the following way: sixteen new capabilities, nineteen changed capabilities, ten focus areas with changed maturity levels and nine focus areas with changed descriptions. Implementing the capabilities of the new SPfM Model and Maturity Matrix will increase the chances of creating a successful platform. If a keystone implements these capabilities, it can manage stakeholders, know and align their interest, and thereby enabling new value creation by itself and ecosystem members.