Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) studies the impact of change in software production practices on well-being at work.

FIOH’s project studies well-being at work in software development groups who are taking advantage of agile methods and constantly creating and releasing new software versions. Researchers are particularly interested in well-being at work of software developers as companies in the N4S program are adopting new methods and practices.

”There have been some studies on the motivation of software developers. There is less research on agile and lean methods and well-being at work,” says Specialized Researcher Marja Känsälä from Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

FIOH studies three areas: shortening delivery cycles, processes of change and dynamic working situations. How much strain does a short delivery cycle (from the development of a feature to release) create? How much impact does the adoption of new working methods have on well-being at work? What are the effects of the growth of the group and multicultural and decentralized work?

”By well-being at work, we mean the meaningfulness and strain of work and the fluency of teamwork processes. We are not looking at well-being purely from the perspective of job satisfaction and stress tolerance. We see well-being at work as a result of working practices that is not a question of working ability independent from the work itself. Our mission is to create well-being through work,” Känsälä emphasizes.

Methods in FIOH’s project include interviews, surveys, physiological stress measurements, development workshops and group meetings that are part of the research program.

In the AgiES project (Agile and Lean Development Methods for Embedded ICT Systems), FIOH’s researchers also studied strain of the work of software developers.

”We discovered in this project that recovery from work was better at the end of a working period (e.g. a sprint) for the more agile teams. It looks like agility may indeed have the effect of leveling strain according to the philosophy of sustainable pace. The same study showed that well-implemented agile practices and principles and operational practices improve well-being at work and the meaningfulness and fluency of work.”

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, FIOH, is a research and specialist organization in the field of occupational health and safety.


Need for Speed (N4S) will create the foundation for the Finnish software intensive businesses in the new digital economy. N4S adopts a real-time experimental business model, and provides capability for instant value delivery based upon deep customer insight. The program is executed by the forefront Finnish software companies. The consortia consists of 13 large industrial organisations, 16 SMEs and 11 research institutes and universities. The four-year program of Digile (2014-2017) is partly funded by Tekes.