Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Understanding motivators... (paper review)

Understanding Motivators and De-motivators for Software Engineers – A Case of Malaysian Software Engineering Industry (paper review)

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-22203-0_18
Link: http://www.springerlink.com/content/w562524642r27624/

Recently I've got quite interested in the social aspects of software engineering. Why do people work as programmers, designers, testers...? What is it that is so challenging about this jobs? If we compare that to other engineering fields, software is never seen. When it comes to cars the look and the performance is what sells the car and that's what makes people work for car companies - they can do something cool.

So, recently I've come across this paper and it looks like the motivators in the SE field are exactly the same as in other fields - technical challenges, recognition, etc. It is the same what Humphrey noticed in Managing Technical People.

Impact on experimentation: quite often we see papers where authors try to assess the experience of software developers when completing a task in an experiment. Many use Likert scale-like measures and try to capture competence. In this paper, we can see a number of interesting aspects that we should measure - are people satisfied with their jobs? if so, they will do better in the experiment than people who are not motivated. Do we promote experiements as broadening activities? or as something that has to be done?

I think this paper opens up on a number of considerations in relation to empirical methods in software engineering, we should be better in capturing that!

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