Motivating Jenny
Project Information

Motivators, Outcomes, Characteristics and Context from: T. Hall et al., "What Do We Know about Developer Motivation?," in IEEE Software, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 92-94, July-Aug. 2008.

Motivation significantly influences productivity and code quality in software development projects. Successful developers are motivated to learn new technologies, but are rarely motivated by reading documentation or studying manuals. They engage in peer-to-peer interactions and assessments, two forms of interaction that have been found to bring about lasting cultural change within the wider software developer community. This is evident, for example, in the widespread adoption of object-oriented technologies and agile development practices.

The Motivating Jenny to Write Secure Software: Community and Culture of Coding project (2017-2020) investigated how to initiate and sustain secure software culture, building upon frameworks of personal motivation and team culture (see figure). Our specific research aims were to:

To address these research aims, we conducted ethnographic and constrained task studies and drew upon classic models of motivation, organisational theory, and social and cultural pyschology. Our engagement with the developer community considered online and professional settings, in communities such as those found in StackExchange and through collaboration with a range of companies including members of Agile Business Consortium (ABC) Ltd. Academic collaborators included Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre and international research groups in Brazil and Japan.

This was a joint project between The Open University and Exeter University, and a sister project of the EPSRC-funded Why Johnny doesn't write secure software? Secure Software Development by the masses.