On the unhappiness of software developers

Daniel Graziotin, Fabian Fagerholm, Xiaofeng Wang, Pekka Abrahamsson

Tutkimustuotos: Artikkeli kirjassa/konferenssijulkaisussaConference contributionScientificvertaisarvioitu

25 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


The happy-productive worker thesis states that happy workers are more productive. Recent research in software engineering supports the thesis, and the ideal of flourishing happiness among software developers is often expressed among industry practitioners. However, the literature suggests that a cost-effective way to foster happiness and productivity among workers could be to limit unhappiness. Psychological disorders such as job burnout and anxiety could also be reduced by limiting the negative experiences of software developers. Simultaneously, a baseline assessment of (un)happiness and knowledge about how developers experience it are missing. In this paper, we broaden the understanding of unhappiness among software developers in terms of (1) the software developer population distribution of (un)happiness, and (2) the causes of unhappiness while developing software. We conducted a large-scale quantitative and qualitative survey, incorporating a psychometrically validated instrument for measuring (un)happiness, with 2 220 developers, yielding a rich and balanced sample of 1318 complete responses. Our results indicate that software developers are a slightly happy population, but the need for limiting the unhappiness of developers remains. We also identified 219 factors representing causes of unhappiness while developing software. Our results, which are available as open data, can act as guidelines for practitioners in management positions and developers in general for fostering happiness on the job. We suggest considering happiness in future studies of both human and technical aspects in software engineering.

OtsikkoProceedings of the 21st International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, EASE 2017
ISBN (elektroninen)9781450348041
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 15 kesäkuuta 2017
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA4 Artikkeli konferenssijulkaisuussa
TapahtumaInternational Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering - Karlskrona, Ruotsi
Kesto: 15 kesäkuuta 201716 kesäkuuta 2017
Konferenssinumero: 21


ConferenceInternational Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering


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