How Developers and Managers Define and Trade Productivity for Quality

Jul 19, 2022

Through an exploratory survey study with developers and managers at Microsoft, we investigated how these cohorts define productivity and quality, how aligned they are in their views, how aware they are of other views, and if and how they trade quality for productivity. Results: We find developers and managers, as cohorts, are not well-aligned in their views of productivity---developers think more about work activities, while more managers consider performance or quality outcomes. We find developers and managers have more aligned views of what quality means, with the majority defining quality in terms of robustness, while the timely delivery of evolvable features that delight users are also key quality aspects. Over half of the developers and managers we surveyed make productivity and quality trade-offs but with good reasons for doing so.

  • Margaret-Anne Storey
  • Brian Houck
  • Thomas Zimmermann

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