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Work descriptions are informal notes taken by developers to summarize work achieved in a particular session. Existing studies indicate that maintaining them is a distracting task, which costs a developer more than 30 min. a day. The goal of this research is to analyze the purposes of work descriptions, and find out if automated tools can assist developers in efficiently creating them. For this, we mine a large dataset of heterogeneous work descriptions from open source and commercial projects. We analyze the semantics of these documents and identify common information entities and granularity levels. Information on performed actions, concerned artifacts, references and new work, shows the work management purpose of work descriptions. Information on problems, rationale and experience shows their knowledge sharing purpose. We discuss how work description information, in particular information used for work management, can be generated by observing developers' interactions. Our findings have many implications for next generation software engineering tools.
Paper: Walid Maalej and Hans-Jörg Happel, Can Development Work Describe Itself? In Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Conference on Mining Software Repositories, IEEE CS, 2010.