It is well known that software documentation in open source projects is often poor and incomplete. Open source communities are generally driven by project members doing what they want to do, and because few programmers enjoy writing documentation, many open source projects are poorly documented compared to proprietary projects. This does not mean that documentation is any less important in open source projects, and this thesis looks at why it is so hard to provide good documentation. Findings from this thesis shows that even if all project members agree that documentation is important, resource constraints mean that the time and effort necessary to create quality documentation it is not necessarily provided.
How lack of documentation is affecting new project members who try to contribute to a project is also described in this thesis. Several new project members found the given documentation to be messy and outdated, making it hard to contribute. Poor documentation can also influence the number of project members willing to contribute to the open source project.
The thesis is based on an action research project where the author has participated in the development of a health information system, District Health Information System version 2 (DHIS 2), within the Health Information System Programme (HISP) network.