Cultivating a Team Mindset about Productivity with a Nudge: A Field Study in Hybrid Development Teams

This study investigated the balance between individual and team productivity in software development teams.

Oct 4, 2023

While there has been significant study of both individuals and teams of knowledge workers, research has focused largely on one or the other, with less focus on the interaction between the two. In this paper, we explore the tensions between the individual and their team, focusing on the choices an individual makes towards their own productivity versus their team's productivity. We developed a technology probe with a team nudge that fosters recurring reflection and prompts individuals to consider how their team helps them to be productive. We examined its impact through a longitudinal field study with 48 participants. We chose to undertake this study with software development teams as they are examples of knowledge workers who collaborate on a shared set of tasks with specific goals. Our exploration took place with hybrid development teams, which have increasingly become the norm. Our analysis of a total of 8338 hourly self-reports and 1389 daily diary entries found that the team nudge increased participants' productivity ratings and team awareness, led to participants spending more time on their own tasks, reshaped their perceptions of themselves and their team, yet, in general, did not increase team cohesion or affect well-being.

  • Thomas Fritz
  • Alexander Lill
  • André N. Meyer
  • Gail C. Murphy
  • Lauren Howe

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