Digital Transformation

Beyond the code: The power of developer experience in determining business resilience

Published on January 05, 2024

If your organization relies on technology as the foundation that powers your business, then developers are the core pillars of your success. Prioritizing developer satisfaction can thus take your organization to greater heights and keep your business firm in the most challenging times. As a result, there’s been an increased focus on developer experience (DX) and its role in a company’s growth trajectory.

However, it’s more complex than it sounds. Given the unstable market conditions we’ve been witnessing for the past few years, developers are under more pressure than ever to do more with less. In innumerable cases, developers are required to take on additional operational responsibilities beyond their KRAs. It’s not uncommon to find developers spending less than half their time writing actual code. In fact, a 2022 survey found that developers spend less than 1 hour per day writing code, indicating that frequent extracurricular constraints may hinder developer progress.

Understanding developer experience

Developer experience encompasses all the touchpoints and encounters developers have across their entire employee lifecycle. This includes all the tools, processes, and practices they engage with and the environment they’re required to work in. Organizations that strive to improve DX can see immediate improvements in productivity, quality of software development, and faster development cycles. In order to create a positive DX, businesses will need to examine the ecosystem they’ve built for their developers closely. This can be anything, ranging from the usability of development tools to the efficiency of workflows and the overall support system provided by the organization.

When developers are empowered to do their best work, it results in the organization’s collective success and not just the developers. Building such an environment where developers can thrive requires going beyond just giving them the tools to do their job. Although the right tools can be crucial, what’s equally, if not more, important is fostering a culture that prioritizes clear communication, continuous learning, and collaboration.

Curating intuitive workflows

A foundational pillar of DX lies in building modern workflows that can vastly improve development speed and efficiency while enabling developers to concentrate on the most critical aspects of their jobs. An intelligent workflow encompassing the framework of processes, tools, and best practices can have a significant positive impact on their experience.

For example, developers often work on big projects that have multiple stakeholders. A well-structured workflow ensures that everyone in the picture knows what they need to do and that the process is streamlined. It’s like having a clear plan instead of wandering in the dark.

Additionally, smart workflows often include tools that can automate repetitive tasks or handle non-coding-related activities, saving significant time and energy. They can automatically check for mistakes, suggest improvements, and expedite development. Most importantly, these workflows provide the guidelines and direction for the entire development process, from the selection of the tools and the level of automation and customization required to the metrics that should be monitored to keep track of progress.

The correct set of tools and framework

Selecting the right tools, languages, and frameworks depending on the team’s proficiency and requirements goes a long way in ensuring a friction-free and efficient development lifecycle. It streamlines the various parts of the lifecycle, such as coding, testing, and debugging, while enabling developers to focus on delivering quality solutions rather than struggling with unnecessary complexity.

Additionally, it’s essential to be clear about what your team can build themselves versus what they want to purchase off the shelf. Keeping time as the most critical factor in mind, it might not always be a good idea to build solutions in-house. It should only be considered when there is a high level of customization required or when no reliable solutions are available in the market. The primary purpose behind selecting a comprehensive set of development tools and resources should be to enable seamless work, leverage automation wherever possible, and reduce configuration and development costs.

Security and compliance by design

In a day and age when security breaches are claiming victims by the hour, it has become crucial for engineering teams to keep security and privacy considerations at the heart of the development process. When developers are equipped with secure coding practices and tools that facilitate adherence to compliance standards, the organization’s overall cybersecurity posture is strengthened.

By incorporating security considerations from the outset, potential vulnerabilities and issues can be identified early in the development process. This enables developers to address security concerns during the initial stages, thereby preventing the need for extensive rework later in the development cycle. This also allows them to focus on building new features and improvements rather than constantly dealing with security-related fixes.

Keeping ROI in mind

It’s important to keep in mind that any investment into developing DX should be considered as an investment being made to enhance the company’s growth potential. When developers are equipped with the right tools and resources, they can contribute more efficiently and meaningfully to the organization’s product roadmap. This not only directly improves speed to market but also allows your company to create more revenue streams much faster than anticipated.

Getting started with DX programs can be a valuable step at any stage of business growth. Whether your teams consist of just a few members or span globally with hundreds of engineers, prioritizing developer experience can be a pivotal factor in navigating uncertain market conditions. It plays a crucial role in securing short-term success and positioning companies for sustained long-term growth. Regardless of your company-wide goals, the inherent value of developer experience is evident, making it an essential component in the core of every organization’s strategic business plans, both in the immediate and distant future.

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