Towards Recognizing and Rewarding Efficient Developer Work Patterns

Author(s): Will Snipes, Vinay Augustine, Anil R. Nair, Emerson Murphy-Hill
Venue: International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: 2013-05-18

Type of Experiement: Case Study
Sample Size: 12
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: Invitation
Data Collection Method: Observation


In this article, the authors investigate a means of quantifying developer 'work patterns' and applying a gameification process to reward developers who follow patterns that are established as most effective.

A work pattern is defined by the authors as a set of sequenced navigations through a code base that make up a means of completing a particular development session's purpose. By using monitoring software on the study participants' development machines, they can quantify these sequences. By translating the recorded patterns into Markov chains representing their sequences, a means of comparison between differing patterns is established.

With an established means of comparing patterns and quantifying their efficacy and efficiency, the authors propose a gameification of the development process that would provide visible rewards on a digital profile for developers that follow 'good' patterns. The authors believe that this can lead to the discovery of new effective techniques and encourage best practices in a large-scale software development environment, and propose a further study on this gameification.