Business leaders increasingly understand that improving the developer experience is a competitive differentiator. At the core of the developer experience are the people and the applications they need to build. The longer it takes to progress an idea to actual code, the more hurdles an application team can expect to encounter, leading to missed business opportunities. This, coupled with a worldwide developer talent crunch and a challenging economic climate, is driving more organizations to invest in a developer experience (DevEx) strategy to improve business outcomes and productivity with their existing people and tech investments, while also enhancing recruitment and retention.
Still, although most organizations claim to have an existing DevEx strategy, only one in four leaders believes that their organization’s strategy is mature and delivering value, according to recent Forrester Research commissioned by VMware. The good news is that the research reveals that organizations are optimistic and realistic about the success of their DevEx efforts.
A good developer experience is both a destination and a journey that requires a measured approach and ongoing investment. Understanding the gaps in your organization’s DevEx is important, and so is acknowledging that it will be different across application teams and from your peers. Based on the app and the tooling ecosystem of that team, the path to improving DevEx will vary. Regardless of where you are on your DevEx journey, there are some immediate actions you can take now to understand your organization’s DevEx gap better.
Identify areas of complexity, examine tooling, and friction to guide investments
Some of the most important job factors for developers are the languages, frameworks, and other technologies they will use daily at work. One of the biggest challenges to developers’ productivity and experience comes down to cumbersome processes and their tools. With respondents indicating that the two most significant obstacles their developers have faced in the past year are legacy platforms/developer tools and the difficulty of integrating new tools. Leaving developers with a fragmented ecosystem of tools only presents learning and integration challenges.
To better understand what really happens in your software development lifecycle, create a value stream map to uncover speed bumps and where friction exists within the software delivery process.
Many organizations find that this friction starts at the underlying technologies used in modern software development. More than three in five respondents say that the complexity associated with managing open source, multi-cloud, Kubernetes, and cybersecurity tools inhibits their developers’ productivity and experience – in addition to the learning gap, yet these tools are essential to keep pace with modern business requirements.
In order to guide better investments in your DevEx strategy moving forward, it is imperative that leaders have an increased understanding of all those present complexities and roadblocks.
About 71% of responding business leaders concede that they need to better understand and support the application development and delivery process. This educational process can foster alignment between developers and business leaders and serve as a formative step toward improving DevEx.
From here, you can find a combination of process- and technology-related issues to create a baseline from which to improve. With a value stream map, you can create a strategy that focuses on the highest impact changes first.
Investments that can improve developer outcomes: training, self-service portals, app templates, and automation
Improving the developer experience is active work to improve the quality of the software being produced, the velocity at which it is happening, and overall profitability. While there is no single action or investment that will solve every possible concern, there are three increasingly popular strategies that have already improved DevEx for organizations particularly application deployment automation (59%), easy access to a trusted open source software (52%), and application templates (46%).
Developer portals are rising in popularity as a way to improve their experience and collaboration. By cataloging all of the applications, APIs, tools, and processes used in an organization, developers are able to search, browse, and consume these services and get started on their projects. Having this “single source of truth” can help developers move faster and enable your applications and teams to scale. Used in conjunction with collaborative communication tools and focused investment in training and education, these three elements can reduce frustration and improve overall productivity.
Automation in the form of DevOps tools and capabilities can significantly impact the reliability of software delivery and free up the developer’s time. Implementing a catalog of trusted open source software components, application templates, and shifting left your security guardrails help to reduce the churn many developers face in moving to the next step in the software development lifecycle. Automation of your software supply chain from builds to scanning creates a continuous flow of deployments and notifications when things are out of security compliance while removing this burden from your developers.
Creating the right DevEx strategy is imperative to business success
While many organizations are still in the early stages of their DevEx strategy, about half of the respondents have already seen revenue growth, enhanced developer productivity, and developer job satisfaction improvements from their DevEx investments.
Similarly, a McKinsey study found that companies with a higher developer velocity grew revenue four to five times faster than those with a lower developer velocity, have 60% higher total shareholder returns and 20% higher operating margins and were 55% more innovative.
It has become increasingly clear that the developer experience plays a central role in an organization’s ability to digitally transform and keep pace with modern business requirements, so it’s no surprise that over the next year, 91% of business leaders expect their organization to maintain or increase their DevEx investment.
When developers can understand and navigate their daily work easily, they are more likely to enjoy their work, and in turn, resulting in creativity for better apps and business outcomes.
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