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  • Cat Hicks

A link roundup: Things I'm thinking about (software research edition)

I've posted a lot of things in various places and platforms lately, and so I wanted to do a small roundup on this blog.

The lab I direct, the Developer Success Lab, has a new website! This is the first iteration of this site and there will be more iterations. Here, you can find our publicly-available research with real developers across many industries and contexts. To serve our mission of broadly helping developers and the industry, we purposefully create a mix of large-scale empirical research reports, readable blogposts, storytelling whitepapers, and articles. This delightful little video we had the chance to put together as a team is probably the best introduction to the Developer Success Lab and what we care about.

Thing I'm thinking about #1: Developer Thriving

Our biggest research story right now is introducing the framework of Developer Thriving. This is a labor of love from our deep research work with software teams. We use mixed-methods (large-scale empirical measures from social science + rich qualitative interviewing and focus groups) to describe what "thriving" really looks like for software teams and how it leads to productivity, reflection cycles, and long-term innovation and impact. You can consume more about this idea in various ways:

Thing I'm thinking about #2: A better way to understand Productivity in software work

It's no surprise that thinking about developer productivity (and anyone's productivity) is complicated and also extremely important. I have been working to bring the things we know from learning science and social science into this conversation, along with my brilliant colleagues Dr. Carol Lee and Morgan Ramsey.

Thing I'm thinking about #3: Insights from Engineering managers

Two big things unite under this topic for me: the frictions and needs of engineering managers and leaders, plus thinking about how evidence science can help those same people. Last fall I began doing more work sharing and creating materials on intervention science and developers. I am fascinated by this and by the ways that social science interventions can inform engineering organizations. I continue to think that social scientists and engineering leaders are a match made in heaven for tackling organizational change....!

Lots more to come on all of these topics soon, so I'll probably drop a roundup of links periodically. One of my favorite things about doing social science is that it's the science of everyone--it's what we live with and inside of and next to every day. I love working on the sociocognitive aspects of problem-solving, and I think that understanding these elements is really the most important thing an engineering team could be trying to do right now. I hope it feels like these topics speak to our real experiences at work and that they're interesting pieces of data and reflection to drive us towards more sustainable, healthy, and (truly) scientific ways of working. Looking forward to seeing how these topics and questions evolve over the next year!


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