Software development is a largely collaborative effort, of which the actual encoding of program logic in source code is a relatively small part. Yet, little is known about the impact of collaboration between stakeholders on software quality. We hypothesize that the collaboration between stakeholders during software development has a non-negligible impact on the software system. Information about collaborative activities can be recovered from traces of their communication, which are recorded in the repositories used for the development of the software system. This thesis contributes the following: 1) to make this information accessible for practitioners and researchers, we present approaches to distill communication information from development repositories, and empirically validate our proposed extractors. 2) By linking back the extracted communication data to the parts of the software system under discussion, we are able to empirically study the impact of communication, as a proxy to collaboration between stakeholders, on a software system. Through case studies on a broad spectrum of open-source software projects, we demonstrate the important role of social interactions between stakeholders with respect to the evolution of a software system.
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