Unhappy developers: Bad for themselves, bad for process, and bad for software product

Daniel Graziotin, Fabian Fagerholm, Xiaofeng Wang, Pekka Abrahamsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research in software engineering supports the 'happy-productive' thesis, and the desire of flourishing happiness among programmers is often expressed by industry practitioners. Recent literature has suggested that a cost-effective way to foster happiness and productivity among workers could be to limit unhappiness of developers due to its negative impact. However, possible negative effects of unhappiness are still largely unknown in the software development context. In this paper, we present the first results from a study exploring the consequences of the unhappy developers. Using qualitative data analysis of the survey responses given by 181 participants, we identified 49 potential consequences of unhappiness while developing software. These results have several implications. While raising the awareness of the role of moods, emotions and feelings in software development, we foresee that our classification scheme will spawn new happiness studies linking causes and effects, and it can act as a guideline for developers and managers to foster happiness at work.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering Companion, ICSE-C 2017
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781538615898
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Software Engineering - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 20 May 201728 May 2017
Conference number: 39


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software Engineering
Abbreviated titleICSE
CityBuenos Aires


  • Affect
  • Behavioral software engineering
  • Developer experience
  • Emotion
  • Human aspects
  • Mood

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