I presented a keynote at ICSE’2019 (the International Conference on Software Engineering Engineering) in Montreal, Canada. In this talk I challenged our community to consider that although much of our research is aimed at improving developer productivity or supporting developers in some way, we often do not directly study human and social aspects in our empirical studies, bringing some aspects of the relevance of our research into question.
Publish or Perish: Questioning the Impact of Our Research on the Software Developer
How often do we pause to consider how we, as a community, decide which developer problems we address, or how well we are doing at evaluating our solutions within real development contexts? Many of our research contributions in software engineering can be considered as purely technical. Yet somewhere, at some time, a software developer may be impacted by our research. In this talk, I invite the community to question the impact of our research on software developer productivity. To guide the discussion, I first paint a picture of the modern-day developer and the challenges they experience. I then present 4+1 views of software engineering research — views that concern research context, method choice, research paradigms, theoretical knowledge and real-world impact. I demonstrate how these views can be used to design, communicate and distinguish individual studies, but also how they can be used to compose a critical perspective of our research at a community level. To conclude, I propose structural changes to our collective research and publishing activities — changes to provoke a more expeditious consideration of the many challenges facing today’s software developer.