Are happy developers more productive? The correlation of affective states of software developers and their self-assessed productivity
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For decades now, it has been claimed that a way to improve software developers’ productivity is to focus on people. Indeed, while human factors have been recognized in Software Engineering research, few empirical investi- gations have attempted to verify the claim. Development tasks are undertaken through cognitive processing abilities. Affective states – emotions, moods, and feelings - have an impact on work-related behaviors, cognitive processing activ- ities, and the productivity of individuals. In this paper, we report an empirical study on the impact of affective states on software developers’ performance while programming. Two affective states dimensions are positively correlated with self-assessed productivity. We demonstrate the value of applying psycho- metrics in Software Engineering studies and echo a call to valorize the human, individualized aspects of software developers. We introduce and validate a measurement instrument and a linear mixed-effects model to study the correla- tion of affective states and the productivity of software developers.
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