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Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title The work life of developers: activities, switches and perceived productivity
Organization Unit
  • André Meyer
  • Laura E Barton
  • Thomas Fritz
  • Gail C Murphy
  • Thomas Zimmermann
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Journal Title IEEE transactions on software engineering
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Geographical Reach international
ISSN 0098-5589
Volume 43
Number 12
Page Range 1178 - 1193
Date 2017
Abstract Text 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.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TSE.2017.2656886
Other Identification Number merlin-id:14713
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