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Initial findings from an observational study of software engineers

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3 Author(s)
Goncalves, M.K. ; Fed. Univ. of Para, Belem ; de Souza, C.R.B. ; Gonzalez, V.M.

For the last 30 years, several empirical studies have been conducted to understand how software engineers work. However, during this period, many changes occurred in the context of software development: new communication technologies like instant messaging appeared as well as new quality models to evaluate the work being conducted. Despite this new context, much of the research in the collaborative aspects of software design is based on research that does not reflect these new aspects of work. Thus, a more up-to-date understanding of the nature of software engineering work - as a type of information work - is necessary. The purpose of this paper is to present the initial findings of an observational study to understand how software developers' time is distributed during their workday. The main results are related to aspects of collaboration observed in 55% of their time, information seeking consuming 31,90% of developers' time, and poor use of software process tools in 5% of the time observed. In particular, this last result is different from what one would expect and which has been previously been reported in the literature.

Published in:

Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design, 2009. CSCWD 2009. 13th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

22-24 April 2009