Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The work life of developers: activities, switches and perceived productivity


Meyer, André; Barton, Laura E; Fritz, Thomas; Murphy, Gail C; Zimmermann, Thomas (2017). The work life of developers: activities, switches and perceived productivity. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Many software development organizations strive to enhance the productivity of their developers. All too often, efforts aimed at improving developer productivity are undertaken without knowledge about how developers spend their time at work and how it influences their own perception of productivity. To fill in this gap, we deployed a monitoring application at 20 computers of professional software developers from four companies for an average of 11 full workdays in situ. Corroborating earlier findings, we found that developers spend their time on a wide variety of activities and switch regularly between them, resulting in highly fragmented work. Our findings extend beyond existing research in that we correlate developers’ work habits with perceived productivity and also show productivity is a personal matter. Although productivity is personal, developers can be roughly grouped into morning, low-at-lunch and afternoon people. A stepwise linear regression per participant revealed that more user input is most often associated with a positive, and emails, planned meetings and work unrelated websites with a negative perception of productivity. We discuss opportunities of our findings, the potential to predict high and low productivity and suggest design approaches to create better tool support for planning developers’ workdays and improving their personal productivity.

Abstract

Many software development organizations strive to enhance the productivity of their developers. All too often, efforts aimed at improving developer productivity are undertaken without knowledge about how developers spend their time at work and how it influences their own perception of productivity. To fill in this gap, we deployed a monitoring application at 20 computers of professional software developers from four companies for an average of 11 full workdays in situ. Corroborating earlier findings, we found that developers spend their time on a wide variety of activities and switch regularly between them, resulting in highly fragmented work. Our findings extend beyond existing research in that we correlate developers’ work habits with perceived productivity and also show productivity is a personal matter. Although productivity is personal, developers can be roughly grouped into morning, low-at-lunch and afternoon people. A stepwise linear regression per participant revealed that more user input is most often associated with a positive, and emails, planned meetings and work unrelated websites with a negative perception of productivity. We discuss opportunities of our findings, the potential to predict high and low productivity and suggest design approaches to create better tool support for planning developers’ workdays and improving their personal productivity.

Statistics

Altmetrics

Downloads

290 downloads since deposited on 31 Mar 2017
290 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:31 Mar 2017 06:10
Last Modified:04 Jun 2017 18:32
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN:0098-5589
Additional Information:© 2017 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/TSE.2017.2656886
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:14713

Download

Download PDF  'The work life of developers: activities, switches and perceived productivity'.
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 3MB
View at publisher