Matthew A. Jorde

Matthew A. Jorde

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Authored Publications
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    Engineering Impacts of Anonymous Author Code Review: A Field Experiment
    Emerson Rex Murphy-Hill
    Jill Dicker
    Lan Cheng
    Liz Kammer
    Ben Holtz
    Andrea Marie Knight Dolan
    Collin Green
    Transactions on Software Engineering(2021)
    Preview abstract Code review is a powerful technique to ensure high quality software and spread knowledge of best coding practices between engineers. Unfortunately, code reviewers may have biases about authors of the code they are reviewing, which can lead to inequitable experiences and outcomes. In this paper, we describe a field experiment with anonymous author code review, where we withheld author identity information during 5217 code reviews from 300 professional software engineers at one company. Our results suggest that during anonymous author code review, reviewers can frequently guess authors’ identities; that focus is reduced on reviewer-author power dynamics; and that the practice poses a barrier to offline, high-bandwidth conversations. Based on our findings, we recommend that those who choose to implement anonymous author code review should reveal the time zone of the author by default, have a break-the-glass option for revealing author identity, and reveal author identity directly after the review. View details
    Enabling the Study of Software Development Behavior with Cross-Tool Logs
    Collin Green
    Ben Holtz
    Edward K. Smith
    Andrea Marie Knight Dolan
    Elizabeth Kammer
    Jillian Dicker
    James Lin
    Lan Cheng
    Emerson Murphy-Hill
    IEEE Software, Special Issue on Behavioral Science of Software Engineering(2020)
    Preview abstract Understanding developers’ day-to-day behavior can help answer important research questions, but capturing that behavior at scale can be challenging, particularly when developers use many tools in concert to accomplish their tasks. In this paper, we describe our experience creating a system that integrates log data from dozens of development tools at Google, including tools that developers use to email, schedule meetings, ask and answer technical questions, find code, build and test, and review code. The contribution of this article is a technical description of the system, a validation of it, and a demonstration of its usefulness. View details
    What Predicts Software Developers’ Productivity?
    Emerson Murphy-Hill
    David C. Shepherd
    Michael Phillips
    Andrea Knight Dolan
    Edward K. Smith
    Transactions on Software Engineering(2019)
    Preview abstract Organizations have a variety of options to help their software developers become their most productive selves, from modifying office layouts, to investing in better tools, to cleaning up the source code. But which options will have the biggest impact? Drawing from the literature in software engineering and industrial/organizational psychology to identify factors that correlate with productivity, we designed a survey that asked 622 developers across 3 companies about these productivity factors and about self-rated productivity. Our results suggest that the factors that most strongly correlate with self-rated productivity were non-technical factors, such as job enthusiasm, peer support for new ideas, and receiving useful feedback about job performance. Compared to other knowledge workers, our results also suggest that software developers’ self-rated productivity is more strongly related to task variety and ability to work remotely. View details
    Do Developers Learn New Tools On The Toilet?
    Emerson Murphy-Hill
    Edward K. Smith
    Andrea Knight Dolan
    Andrew Trenk
    Steve Gross
    Proceedings of the 2019 International Conference on Software Engineering
    Preview abstract Maintaining awareness of useful tools is a substantial challenge for developers. Physical newsletters are a simple technique to inform developers about tools. In this paper, we evaluate such a technique, called Testing on the Toilet, by performing a mixed-methods case study. We first quantitatively evaluate how effective this technique is by applying statistical causal inference over six years of data about tools used by thousands of developers. We then qualitatively contextualize these results by interviewing and surveying 382 developers, from authors to editors to readers. We found that the technique was generally effective at increasing software development tool use, although the increase varied depending on factors such as the breadth of applicability of the tool, the extent to which the tool has reached saturation, and the memorability of the tool name. View details
    Advantages and Disadvantages of a Monolithic Codebase
    Andrea Knight
    Edward K. Smith
    Emerson Murphy-Hill
    International Conference on Software Engineering, Software Engineering in Practice track (ICSE SEIP)(2018)
    Preview abstract Monolithic source code repositories (repos) are used by several large tech companies, but little is known about their advantages or disadvantages compared to multiple per-project repos. This paper investigates the relative tradeoffs by utilizing a mixed-methods approach. Our primary contribution is a survey of engineers who have experience with both monolithic repos and multiple, per-project repos. This paper also backs up the claims made by these engineers with a large-scale analysis of developer tool logs. Our study finds that the visibility of the codebase is a significant advantage of a monolithic repo: it enables engineers to discover APIs to reuse, find examples for using an API, and automatically have dependent code updated as an API migrates to a new version. Engineers also appreciate the centralization of dependency management in the repo. In contrast, multiple-repository (multi-repo) systems afford engineers more flexibility to select their own toolchains and provide significant access control and stability benefits. In both cases, the related tooling is also a significant factor; engineers favor particular tools and are drawn to repo management systems that support their desired toolchain. View details