What is developer experience?
Developer experience (DevEx or DX) is an emerging school of thought in software development. In essence, DevEx aims to improve the experience and efficiency of developers as they build, refine, and deploy applications. DevEx is similar to user experience (UX) in that the focus is on identifying and removing friction points for users—in this case, the users are developers.
According to a recent Forrester survey, 75% of companies say DevEx is critical to business strategy execution. A 2020 McKinsey study linked investment in high-quality developer experiences to exponential growth for those companies, far outpacing competitors. In addition, poor DevEx is tied to stagnant business performance.
This post will outline the primary principles of DevEx, highlight some of the pitfalls, and discuss how CBTS can support your DevEx initiatives.
Why does DevEx matter?
A foundational concept in developer experience is “developer velocity”—the time it takes for a development team to bring a new product to market or release updates to an existing product. According to the McKinsey study, the companies positioned in the top 25% of developer velocity “outperform others in the market by four to five times.” This metric translates into higher shareholder returns, operating margins, and even innovations with companies that have 55% higher innovation scores than the bottom-ranked companies.
McKinsey suggests four factors are critical in creating faster developer velocity and improving DevEx.
- Tools. Quality tools improve DevEx and increase time to market. Also, developers can streamline their processes by giving developers autonomy in selecting the applications and design tools they use.
- Culture. Key to innovation is a corporate culture of psychological safety, which means that developers can experiment and fail without fearing repercussions.
- Product management. Simplifying business operations and clarifying product management processes keeps projects on track and on time.
- Talent management. Businesses contribute to the above three factors by hiring and retaining quality developers.
In some ways, developer experience is the art of managing or maximizing the human elements of development. When it’s working, DevEx empowers developers to streamline, innovate, and otherwise improve processes.
Pathways to exceptional DevEx:
- Analyze and remove friction points.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Only develop products you intend to sell. Otherwise, search for existing/open-source tools.
- Utilize trusted open-source code banks, tools, and templates.
- Cultivate culture and cross-pollinate teams.
- Utilize automation and cut down on manual processes where possible.
- Implement low code/no code platforms for non-developers to lighten the load on developers.
Obstacles to quality DevEx
As much as a focus on DevEx improves most business outcomes, poor DevEx leads to stagnant growth, high developer turnaround, and disgruntled development teams.
The primary culprits in creating friction points in DevEx are legacy applications and tools. Aging architecture slows the development process at each stage. By modernizing applications, companies can remove massive blockages in the development pipeline.
Other common obstacles include:
- Forcing developers to use specific tools instead of the tools they want.
- Poorly written or broken code.
- Poor training and documentation.
- A toxic culture that penalizes failure.
- Unrealistic deadlines and long work hours.
Learn more: The methods and motivations behind cloud application modernization efforts
DevEx tools from CBTS
CBTS provides a portfolio of services that can significantly improve developer experience and allow your business to experience the benefits of optimal DevEx.
- Application modernization. Migrating development tools to the cloud (aka application modernization) speeds development time and frees up resources otherwise devoted to maintaining legacy infrastructure. Giving developers the best tools and autonomy in choosing them boosts development velocity.
- Consulting. Let our consultants help you build a roadmap to a DevEx culture.
- Automation. Most developers only spend 30% of their time coding. Save time by reducing or eliminating manual processes and optimizing Software as a Service (SaaS) integrations.
- Managed services. Free up your developers from mundane, repetitive tasks so they can focus on high priority business objectives.
Read more: CBTS commitment to outstanding IT service delivery drives success
Businesses across all industries are learning to value DevEx. By removing obstacles from the development flow, companies can drive innovation and reap the rewards of quality DevEx.
The CBTS team specializes in modernizing applications, optimizing processes, and speeding up business operations. With decades of experience, our team of highly qualified and certified application developers, project managers, and consultants can steer your business toward optimized developer experience and boosted developer velocity.
Contact us to learn more.