AuthorsJ. Hannay, E. Arisholm, H. Engvik and D. I. K. Sjøberg
TitleEffects of Personality on Pair Programming
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering

Personality tests in various guises are commonly used in recruitment and career counseling industries. Such tests have also been considered as instruments for predicting programming and team performance in software engineering. However, research suggests that other human-related factors, such as motivation, general mental ability, expertise and task complexity also affect performance in general. This paper reports on a study of the impact of Big-Five personality traits on the performance of pair programmers together with the impact of expertise and task complexity. The study involved 196 software professionals from three countries forming 98 pairs. The analysis consisted of a confirmatory part and an exploratory part, and the results show that (1) our data does not confirm a meta-analysis-based model of the impact of certain personality traits on performance, and (2) personality traits in general have modest predictive value on pair programming performance compared with expertise, task complexity, and even country. Rather than focusing on direct effects of personality on pair programming performance, we conclude that (a) effort should be spent on elaborating on personality's (and other factors') indirect effects on performancemediated by formalized scales of collaboration, and (b) more effort should be spent on investigating other performance-related predictors such as programming skill, learning, motivation, expertise, and task complexity.

Citation KeySimula.SE.305