Arsonists or firefighters? Affectiveness in agile software development

Marco Ortu, Giuseppe Destefanis, Steve Counsell, Stephen Swift, Roberto Tonelli, Michele Marchesi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper, we present an analysis of more than 500K comments from open-source repositories of software systems developed using agile methodologies. Our aim is to empirically determine how developers interact with each other under certain psychological conditions generated by politeness, sentiment and emotion expressed within developers’ comments. Developers involved in an open-source projects do not usually know each other; they mainly communicate through mailing lists, chat, and tools such as issue tracking systems. The way in which they communicate affects the development process and the productivity of the people involved in the project. We evaluated politeness, sentiment and emotions of comments posted by agile developers and studied the communication flow to understand how they interacted in the presence of impolite and negative comments (and vice versa). Our analysis shows that “firefighters” prevail. When in presence of impolite or negative comments, the probability of the next comment being impolite or negative is 13% and 25 %, respectively; ANGER however, has a probability of 40% of being followed by a further ANGER comment. The result could help managers take control the development phases of a system, since social aspects can seriously affect a developer’s productivity. In a distributed agile environment this may have a particular resonance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAgile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming - 17th International Conference, XP 2016, Proceedings
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)9783319335148
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event17th International Conference on Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming, XP 2016 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Duration: 24 May 201627 May 2016

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
    ISSN (Print)1865-1348


    Conference17th International Conference on Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming, XP 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Agile
    • Data mining
    • Human aspect


    Dive into the research topics of 'Arsonists or firefighters? Affectiveness in agile software development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this