In this study we introduce the concept of ““cycle”” in daily work of software developers. A cycle is occurs when a developer working on a tool switches to another tool, or also to more, and eventually goes back to the first tool. Using the concept of cycle we explore how the developers distribute their time and navigate among different tools during their work. Analysing the cycles can be beneficial for identifying effective strategies for improvement both of the development processes and of how computers (and their tools) are designed and used.
The approach has been validated on data collected non-invasively from team of professional developers for 10 months.