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  • Cat Hicks

An open access developer science roundup

We've been busy.

Developer Thriving: four sociocognitive factors that create resilient productivity on software teams

Co-authored with my team, the Developer Success Lab, I am thrilled to share that our summary paper on the Developer Thriving framework and observational study with 1282 developers is up (open access) with IEEE Software! We've shared this work before as an open report but it is so delightful to contribute to the scientific record and continue to bring more citations and grounding from empirical psychology into software research. I particularly love that this paper is a very accessible entrypoint to the ideas.

Understanding and Effectively Mitigating Code Review Anxiety

The beyond-brilliant Dr. Carol S. Lee has led a research study on Code Review Anxiety that is centered on a workshop intervention which measurably improved outcomes. This is a project that it was my absolute honor to support and get to be a co-author on; sometimes you see a piece of scientific work and you know that it is doing something extremely new. This is such a work -- bringing clinical expertise and intervention methods to a prevalent but understudied part of developers' experience. I cannot emphasize enough how difficult this kind of study is to run and how Dr. Carol executed it with the highest level of clinical care and an ethics spine of steel (she also led out establishing the IRB at Pluralsight). Our preprint is freely available and we are so excited to be working on a workbook to accompany it and continue to share the impact of this incredibly powerful project.

Psychological Affordances Can Provide a Missing Explanatory Layer for Why Interventions to Improve Developer Experience Take Hold or Fail

That's not all that's new in preprint city! In Jan I shared a review paper that finally -- finally! -- articulated something that I had been holding onto for about a year; that psychological affordances provide a missing layer as we seek to understand and center developer experience in modern organizations. There are many ramification to this, and in this review, I use several illustrations to show where and how psychological insight and testing of large-scale social-behavioral interventions can explain central elements of what developers experience inside of their workplaces (given that, you know, developers are human). The "Mindset x Context" lens is one that I think many working on improving software teams' lives can benefit from.

I do really want to submit this one somewhere so give me a shout if you want to invite it; delightful to see it already cited and downloaded so much out there.

The New Developer: AI Skill Threat, Identity Change & Developer Thriving in the Transition to AI-Assisted Software Development

But wait, there's more! I'm getting tired typing. But we just re-released our New Developer project as a preprint to ensure greater access (it already had a preregistration project). I've had the great pleasure of sharing this work at RedMonk's Monki Gras (such a warm conference where one gets spoiled for choice across all topics, intellectual engagement and curiosity in the room), where it was incredibly meaningful to me that folks loved the work, its emphasis on "contest cultures" and "brilliance traps" and the guidance that we're putting out about how to avoid them by investing in learning cultures and cultures of belonging, and amplifying underamplified voices in tech.

Upcoming Talks & Workshops! LeadDev London

Finally, something outside of preprint city...

Exhausted or enthralled by the amount of science this lab has put out? Either way, you'll get the chance to see us at LeadDev London 2024 where both Kristen AND I will be giving talks AND the Developer Success Lab with Dr. Carol Lee will be leading an interactive workshop about how to put our learning culture and belonging culture findings into practice with your real teams. But don't worry if you can't make it to LeadDev -- we have already accompanied this work with a toolkit [FYI unlike the preprints this link will open to a Pluralsight webpage as that's where we can host these materials, but the materials themselves are in open Google docs/slides + a small qualtrics form we have used to create the pre and post assessment where you can see the items regardless of whether you want to use this tool, all materials made & maintained by our team. Stay tuned for more...]


I am more proud than words will ever be able to express to lead this team of scientists and developer experience experts who inspire me every single day with their community-centric work, prolific impact, and commitment to developer science.


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