for-work August 2, 2018

Common Mistakes That Derail Developer Productivity

Recently, we explored the importance of getting DevOps implementation right. When done correctly, DevOps adoption can automate time-consuming tasks and speed up product launches. But even after your organization adopts these practices, you’ll come across new ways to increase developers’ output—and you’ll probably want to make those changes as soon as possible. Still, what are…
Avatar for Rich Moy
Content Marketing Writer (former)

Recently, we explored the importance of getting DevOps implementation right. When done correctly, DevOps adoption can automate time-consuming tasks and speed up product launches. But even after your organization adopts these practices, you’ll come across new ways to increase developers’ output—and you’ll probably want to make those changes as soon as possible.

Still, what are the potential negative outcomes of adopting a new tool or process? All too often, technology leaders fail to ask this question until their teams’ miss critical deadlines. While optimizing developer productivity should always be a priority, here are a couple common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Prioritizing Speed Over Quality

Say that your developers are in the middle of a product cycle. For the last three months, they’ve worked 12-hour days to meet an upcoming deadline. Now, you’ve purchased a new DevOps platform and have decided to roll it out immediately. At first glance, you might assume that this new resource will enable coders to ship new features faster. But award-winning tech editor Christopher Null says that failing to consider a department’s current workload ultimately sets them up for failure.

“Someone has to manage resources (both the budget and talent), and tasks must still be delegated appropriately,” Null writes. “Rigidity in the way a [strategy] is designed—and in the goals you set—is a clear factor in [failure].”

If you’re unsure of the programmers’ current bandwidth, schedule some time with your team leads to get a better understanding of their most urgent priorities. Share the details of the resource or process change that you have in mind and solicit their feedback. This conversation will give you a better idea of when you should launch—and more importantly, whether or not you should wait, even if your idea will increase developer productivity.

Reducing Budget for Critical Resources

Moira Alexander, a contributor to CIO Magazine, argues that budget overruns are litmus tests for a project’s success or failure. “Few companies have an unlimited budget, so the first thing project stakeholders look to in determining whether their project was a great success or a colossal failure is the bottom line,” she adds.

Let’s go back to our previous example. Imagine that the DevOps platform that you want to purchase is more expensive than you anticipated. Should that discourage you from moving forward? Absolutely not. At the same time, it’s important to resist the urge to reduce your budget for other software development resources.  

As Alexander points out, be mindful of your KPIs when you evaluate your technology budget. One line item might seem like a frivolous cost that you can re-allocate for a new tool. But take a closer look at the impact of each component of the budget and how it improves developer productivity. Perhaps a high-cost product has decreased bugs by 15% over the last two years, while another has improved communication across multiple teams. Before you slash your spend to make room for a new process or platform, take a closer look at what you would be eliminating.

Want to help your technical team stay productive? Find out how Stack Overflow for Teams can help.

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