An Exploratory Study of Productivity Perceptions in Software Teams

May 25, 2022

Software development is a collaborative process requiring a careful balance of focused individual effort and team coordination. Though questions of individual productivity have been widely examined in past literature, less is known about the interplay between developers' perceptions of their own productivity as opposed to their team's. In this paper, we present an analysis of 624 daily surveys and 2899 self-reports from 25 individuals across five software teams in North America and Europe, collected over the course of three months. We found that developers tend to operate in fluid team constructs, which impacts team awareness and complicates gauging team productivity. We also found that perceived individual productivity most strongly predicted perceived team productivity, even more than the amount of team interactions, unplanned work, and time spent in meetings. Future research should explore how fluid team structures impact individual and organizational productivity.

  • Anastasia Ruvimova
  • Alexander Lill
  • Jan Gugler
  • Lauren Howe
  • Elaine Huang
  • Gail C. Murphy
  • Thomas Fritz

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