Flow barriers: What prevents software developers from experiencing flow in their work

Saima Ritonummi, Valtteri Siitonen, Markus Salo, Henri Pirkkalainen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Software development requires high problem-solving skills and creativity, making it a profession with good opportunities to become immersed in a flow experience. The characteristics of flow experience are absorption, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation toward the activity. This study aims to better understand the barriers that prevent software developers from experiencing flow at work. Previous research has mostly examined software developers’ productivity, flow being one component of productive workdays. This study addresses the research gap by exploring the barriers to experiencing flow in software development. A qualitative questionnaire was used to gather data about flow experiences from 405 respondents. The most prominent flow barriers that emerged from these responses were interruptions, too easy, boring, or repetitive tasks, lack of opportunities, insufficient requirements, timetables and deadlines, and problems with technology or software. The results suggest that there are many more flow barriers in software development than what have been discussed in the context of productivity. These findings open up an interesting avenue for researching flow experiences in the software development context. The implication for practice is uncovering common flow barriers in software development, which can help both developers and managers identify these barriers, try to mitigate them, and facilitate more flow experiences at work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSTPIS 2022 : Socio-Technical Perspective in Information Systems Development 2022
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Perspective in Information Systems Development (STPIS 2022) : Hybrid conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, August 19-20, 2022
EditorsPeter Bednar, Anna Sigridur Islind, Helena Vallo Hult, Alexander Nolte, Mikko Rajanen, Fatema Zaghloul, Aurelio Ravarini, Alessio Maria Braccini
Pages247-264
Number of pages18
Volume3239
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventSocio-Technical Perspective in Information Systems Development - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 19 Aug 202220 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameCEUR Workshop Proceedings
Volume3239
ISSN (Electronic)1613-0073

Conference

ConferenceSocio-Technical Perspective in Information Systems Development
Country/TerritoryIceland
CityReykjavik
Period19/08/2220/08/22

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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