Boosting Developer Productivity: How Personal Data Will Revolutionize Software Development

Thomas Fritz - Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics, University of Zurich

April 4, 2016, 10 a.m. - April 4, 2016, 11 a.m.

McConnell Engineering Building, room 437

“Software is eating the world.” This statement by Marc Andreessen in a Wall Street Journal op-ed highlights the fact that software has become the backbone of countless major businesses, a trend that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Yet there never seem to be enough software developers to satisfy the demand, despite the immense growth in the number of software developers over the years, with an estimate of eleven million professional developers in 2014. Beyond simply training more developers, one promising and complementary way to address this demand is to unleash the untapped potential of each individual developer. This raises some intriguing unanswered questions: What does it really mean for an individual developer to be productive? And how can we best help to increase a developer’s productivity?

Recent advances in technology and the increasing movement towards personal data tracking affords the opportunity to collect a wide variety of detailed information on a software developer and her work, ranging from the number of resolved work items all the way to the emotional states the developer experiences. This availability and accessibility of data on each developer is enabling us to explore questions about developer productivity in powerful new ways. In this talk, I will present ideas on the use of personal data to support software developers in their work and boost their productivity.

Thomas Fritz is an assistant professor in the Department of Informatics at University of Zurich, Switzerland. He received his PhD degree from the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 2011 and his Diplom from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany, in 2005. He has experience working with several companies and research labs including the IBM labs in Ottawa and Zurich and the OBASCO group at the École des Mines de Nantes in France.


In his research, Thomas Fritz focuses on empirically studying software developers and on using personal and biometric data to improve software developers' productivity and wellness.