We just submitted my first paper to the FSE 14 conference. For the past couple of weeks, my supervisor Prof. Thomas Fritz (University of Zurich), Prof. Gail Murphy (University of British Columbia) and Dr. Thomas Zimmermann (Microsoft Research) intensively worked on our work about how developers perceive their productivity. As the paper now has to be reviewed first, I can’t upload it now. This is our abstract:
The better the software development community becomes at creating software, the more software the world seems to demand. Although there is a large body of research about measuring and investigating productivity from an organizational point of view, there is a paucity of research about how software developers, those at the front-line of software construction, think about, assess and try to improve their productivity. To investigate software developers’ perceptions of software development productivity, we conducted two studies: a survey with 379 professional software developers to help elicit themes and an observational study with 11 professional software developers to investigate emergent themes in more detail. In both studies, we found that developers perceive their days as productive when they complete many or big tasks without significant interruptions or context switches. Yet, the observational data we collected shows our participants performed significant task and activity switching while still feeling productive. We analyze such apparent contradictions in our findings and use the analysis to propose ways to better support developers in a retrospection and improvement of their productivity through the development of new tools and a sharing of best practices.