Master Thesis MSTR-2021-95

BibliographyWeise, Paul: Frictions in software development : an interpretive phenomenological analysis.
University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Information Technology, Master Thesis No. 95 (2021).
87 pages, english.

Background and objective: Enhancing productivity and efficiency at work is certainly one of the most important challenges when it comes to the improvement of processes in general. In order to achieve progress, one has to find the origins of unproductiveness. These are called frictions. In this context, I formally establish and define the term friction, merging its usage within several articles to a common denominator. I investigate specific frictions in the software development sector within a team of data analysts in the consumer electronics sector. Moreover, I analyse the impact of frictions on the mindset of them. Method: For the following analysis, I chose a qualitative approach, conducting an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), which is a methodology that has its origin in the health psychology sector. It enables to dig deeply into the feelings of participants and combines personal insights with interpretations of the author. Result: Results of the study show a coherent pattern of frictions within the team under consideration. Interviewees name inefficient scheduling and conduction of meetings as well as inconsistency in tooling as the frictions with the greatest impact on their work. Frictions evoke annoyance and frustration on the one side, but, on the other side, also motivate the team members to put extra effort into the improvement of processes and reduction of frictions. Discussion: The term friction helps to formalise problems and hindrances of productive work. Identification of friction is the first step for improvement and increased productivity. Frictions are similar, but the ways how people experience these are various and depend on the developer’s mindset. Therefore, it is important for management to put a certain focus on the individual. In this context, IPA constitutes a good way to explore the feelings of developers. Outlook: The IPA approach to analyse data is underestimated in the field of software development so far. It is especially suitable for larger research teams. The next step for future research is to use the gained insights and think about ways to reduce the frictions that are revealed in this study.

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Department(s)University of Stuttgart, Institute of Software Technology, Empirical Software Engineering
Superviser(s)Wagner, Prof. Stefan; Graziotin, Dr. Daniel
Entry dateApril 26, 2022
   Publ. Computer Science