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Factors that motivate software engineering teams: A four country empirical study

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • J.M. Verner
  • M.A. Babar
  • N. Cerpa
  • T. Hall
  • S. Beecham
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/01/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Systems and Software
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)115-127
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Motivation, although difficult to quantify, is considered to be the single largest factor in developer productivity; there are also suggestions that low motivation is an important factor in software development project failure. We investigate factors that motivate software engineering teams using survey data collected from software engineering practitioners based in Australia, Chile, USA and Vietnam. We also investigate the relationship between team motivation and project outcome, identifying whether the country in which software engineering practitioners are based affects this relationship. Analysis of 333 questionnaires indicates that failed projects are associated with low team motivation. We found a set of six common team motivational factors that appear to be culturally independent (project manager has good communication with project staff, project risks reassessed, controlled and managed during the project, customer has confidence in the project manager and the development team, the working environment is good, the team works well together, and the software engineer had a pleasant experience). We also found unique groupings of team motivational factors for each of the countries investigated. This indicates that there are cultural differences that project managers need to consider when working in a global environment.