Are Happy Developers More Productive?

The Correlation of Affective States of Software Developers and Their Self-assessed Productivity
  • Daniel Graziotin
  • Xiaofeng Wang
  • Pekka Abrahamsson
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7983)


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 investigations 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 activities, 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 psychometrics 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 correlation of affective states and the productivity of software developers.


Productivity Human Factors Software Developers Software Development Affective States Emotion Mood Feeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Graziotin
    • 1
  • Xiaofeng Wang
    • 1
  • Pekka Abrahamsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Free University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly

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