Invited Talks

ICSE 2021 Distinguished Papers

Reid Holmes, University of British Columbia, Canada

Title of the Talk — CodeShovel: Constructing Method-Level Source Code Histories

Authors — Felix Grund, Shaiful Alam Chowdhury, Nick Bradley, Braxton Hall, Reid Holmes

Abstract — Source code histories are commonly used by developers and researchers to reason about how software evolves. Through a survey with 42 professional software developers, we learned that developers face significant mismatches between the output provided by developers’ existing tools for examining source code histories and what they need to successfully complete their historical analysis tasks. To address these shortcomings, we propose CodeShovel, a tool for uncovering method histories that quickly produces complete and accurate change histories for 90% methods (including 97% of all method changes) outperforming leading tools from both research (e.g, FinerGit) and practice (e.g., IntelliJ / git log). CodeShovel helps developers to navigate the entire history of source code methods so they can better understand how the method evolved. A field study on industrial code bases with 16 industrial developers confirmed our empirical findings of CodeShovel’s correctness, low runtime overheads, and additionally showed that the approach can be useful for a wide range of industrial development tasks.





Courtney Miller, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Title of the Talk — "How Was Your Weekend?" Software Development Teams Working From Home During COVID-19

Authors — Courtney Miller, Paige Rodeghero, Margaret-Anne Storey, Denae Ford, Thomas Zimmermann

Abstract — The mass shift to working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed the way many software development teams collaborate and communicate. To investigate how team culture and team productivity may also have been affected, we conducted two surveys at a large software company. The first, an exploratory survey during the early months of the pandemic with 2,265 developer responses, revealed that many developers faced challenges reaching milestones and that their team productivity had changed. We also found through qualitative analysis that important team culture factors such as communication and social connection had been affected. For example, the simple phrase "How was your weekend?" had become a subtle way to show peer support.

In our second survey, we conducted a quantitative analysis of the team cultural factors that emerged from our first survey to understand the prevalence of the reported changes. From 608 developer responses, we found that 74% of these respondents missed social interactions with colleagues and 51% reported a decrease in their communication ease with colleagues. We used data from the second survey to build a regression model to identify important team culture factors for modeling team productivity. We found that the ability to brainstorm with colleagues, difficulty communicating with colleagues, and satisfaction with interactions from social activities are important factors that are associated with how developers report their software development team's productivity. Our findings inform how managers and leaders in large software companies can support sustained team productivity during times of crisis and beyond.