Culture

August 2, 2022

How to create a good developer experience (DX) in your company.

DX focuses on the individuals or development teams dedicated to creating, testing, maintaining, and powering the thousands of lines of our world's code.

There is a whole process that involves considering how we can improve, communication, team culture, the magnitude of the architecture, and tools.

Everyone knows that engineering scaffolding supports the good practices of any undertaking.

This mindset is transferred from industry to industry with slight variations that adapt to the needs of each one. These guidelines or lifesavers are known as developer experience in the tech or software development industry. Unlike the employee experience, which encompasses generalities that can apply to all the team, DX focuses on elements that concern the individuals or development teams dedicated to creating, testing, maintaining, and powering the thousands of lines of code that make our world work.

I will start from a place that may seem evident, if not silly, to point out, but the truth is that (to the surprise of many), developers are humans. Knowing their interests and aspirations can be most overlooked when considering improving DX. It is not just about getting the most agile tools for our developers. Still, there is a whole process that involves considering how we can improve operations, communication, team culture, the magnitude of the architecture, and, yes, the tools that our developers have access to.

The developer experience manifests itself in a dynamic environment. This dynamism is essential to consider since communication between individuals and the team can vary from project to project. When there is a lack of clarity in communication during the development of a project, logistical blockages can become a problem that comes from feeding the developers with over-information, thus leading them to feel overwhelmed. The opposite happens when a lack of clarity and little information generates demotivation or loss of direction for the developers. In this case, one of the advantages of working with agile methodology is in the role of the Product Owner, who can offer a certain measure of direction to the developers involved in a project to prevent those blockers.

As we can see, the problem of poor communication within a team of developers leads to poor results, like those that would occur in other elements of a company's organizational structure. 

This situation happens because human capital acts in parallel; we are the same but different. How company culture is manifested externally and internally directly and indirectly affects the developer experience. Examples evidence this dynamic as visible as the high degree of burnout that can be found in development teams that work in a company where the rotation of technical talent does not respond quickly enough to maintain stable and long-lasting teams. When developers are jumping between projects without having time to adjust to their new teams' objectives, methodology, and tools, it is inevitable to take a toll on their physical and emotional state. Maintaining good transition practices is essential to keeping groups healthy and ready to face high expectations.

When a company is not interested in the well-being of its devs, why should the developer care about generating quality code? A constructive solution to this problem revolves around making our team, agents of their own culture within the company. It is not about forcing learning workshops or mandatory talks, but generating organic spaces where developers can interact with their peers formally or informally, thus creating links between individuals that later open the door to effective teams.

These initiatives also encourage the spread of knowledge and the generation of coaching figures or mentors, who can serve as additional elements to build an influential culture for developers and good DX.

Tools and processes.

The details of these two categories delve into the most technical aspect of the developer's task. Still, at their most superficial level, they continue to respond to a topic of good practices. Standardizing the development architecture within a project prevents everyone from making changes that can catastrophically affect a project, saving work hours and frustration for everyone involved.

These agreements must be resolved in advance, and communication within the development teams plays a fundamental role. When the architecture is not scalable enough to develop a project efficiently, it is crucial to raise the concerns that this generates before it is too late to propose alternatives.

None of these efforts can go ahead if you don't have the necessary tools to write the best possible code. The best way to avoid this problem is to dedicate a percentage of the annual budget directly to the training of developers in new programming languages ​​and the use of tools for project development. In addition, nurture in-house talent through mentoring programs and peer-to-peer learning workshops.

When there is good DX, developers work in harmony, with assertive communication that allows them to overcome the challenges in driving technological innovation towards new frontiers. Committing to these good practices can increase your overall productivity, as we do in Arkusnexus, where our developers are fully focused on the development process of every project they are involved in, to achieve all the quality standards to which they and our clients are accustomed.

Case Study from Arkusnexus
Daniel Alcaraz
Daniel Alcaraz is a copywriter for the digital marketing team with a passion for languages and communication. He studied Mexican literature and has a book in amazon no one is buying.
daniel.am@soulcreative.io
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