How to foster software developer productivity

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Last month, we were very fortunate to have André Meyer come into Tasktop to give a presentation on fostering software developer productivity. For many years André has been working with a research team with one of our company co-founders, Gail Murphy, to address the ongoing supply and demand shortage in software delivery.

As “software continues to eat the world”, the need for software is outstripping our ability to supply it. Just how do we enable and empower software developers to be build better software faster and make them more productive?

As Meyer points out, researchers have been trying to solve that mystery for years to little avail. To gain a deeper understanding of the problem, Meyer highlighted three challenges in understanding and increasing developer productivity:

Challenge 1: Limited knowledge about developer work days

Challenge 2: Productivity is often measured by output measures only

Challenge 3: Most developers are not aware of productivity factors

To overcome these challenges, Meyer and his fellow researchers sought answers to three core questions:

  1. What does a software developer’s work day look like in terms of activities and work fragmentation and how does it relate to perceived productivity?
  2. Can we apply self-monitoring to increase developers’ awareness about work and productivity for a) teams and b) individual software developers?
  3. Can we devise approaches that foster productive behaviours at work through the provision of actionable insights?

Watch the presentation

You can learn about Meyer’s discoveries in answering the above questions in the below video:

Further reading

This white paper is based on research into 11 professional software developers from three international software development companies of varying sizes for four hours each.

The findings reveal the key factors that make developers feel productive, and provides compelling insight into how to eliminate the activities/tasks that drain developer productivity.

Click image to download white paper.

First steps to speeding up your dev teams

Want to know more about measurement and improving the productivity of your software development and delivery teams? Speak to us today.

About André Meyer

André N. Meyer is a Ph.D student in Computer Science at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, supervised by Prof. Thomas Fritz. His research interests lie in developers’ productivity and work, and in creating tools that foster productive work by using persuasive technologies such as self-monitoring and goal-setting. He also works in the information technology industry as an application developer and consultant and has interned twice with Microsoft Research. His homepage is http://www.andre-meyer.ch.

Recently, he investigated developers’ perceptions of productivity and their context switches and fragmentation of their work. With the FlowLight, he and his colleagues successfully reduced costly interruptions at inopportune moments. With WorkAnalytics, he is increasing developers’ awareness about good habits at work, to foster productive behavior changes at the workplace.

Find out more about his work:

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