What impact does DevX have on developers, teams, and organizations?
Developer Experience (DevX)
Over the last two years, I have been investigating developer experience – that is, how developers experience their work and how that influences outcomes such as productivity, code quality, or retention.
In our first in-depth study, we look at which factors influence developer experience. We found 25 factors that developers regularly described when they talked about developer experience and grouped them into four categories:
- development and release
- Product management
- Collaboration and culture
- Developer flow and fulfillment
We also identified how developer experience can be improved and which strategies developers have to improve it, as well as which challenges and barriers they face when they try to improve DevX.
Devs started to talk about DevX
Our research was published in mid-2022 (you can download the full paper here), and since then, a lot of people in the industry have started to talk about developer experience. This is awesome!
Developers all around the world could relate to our findings and echoed that they indeed need good developer experience to be productive and ship high-quality code. Developers know that they need time to focus and do deep work. They know about flow state and how fast code review turnaround times are a game changer.
DevX? No buy-in from management
But once again, business folks were too far away from programming to understand the importance of DevX. The fact is that many companies are only willing to spend money on DevX during “good“ times — when we have too much time, too much money, and no other priorities. Well, those times do not exist, especially not with a bad DevX.
When talking to engineering leaders, we realized that what is missing is data that quantifies the impact of DevX. That’s why we have worked on getting this data over the last year. Data that shows the impact of DevX on productivity, code quality, retention, innovation – well, all the outcomes that business cares about.
Hard numbers to convince business
Our research article will be published soon. The research goal was to quantify DevX’s impact on developers, teams, and organizations. The picture below highlights how improvements to the flow state of devs, their cognitive load, and the feedback loops they encounter have a direct and quantifiable impact.
Code Review Related DevX
Another interesting outcome of this study is that we could show that a smooth code review process impacts productivity, retention, and learning. As you see in the quote below, code reviews also impact innovation.
A fast code review turnaround time leads to a 20% increase in innovation.
If we think about it, it makes sense. Innovation suffers if we have to wait a long time to get feedback on our work or if releasing new features is painful.
How to Improve Code Review Turnaround Times
But which strategies help to increase turn-around times? Well, that depends on the underlying root cause for the slow feedback. Yet, a good first step to reduce the code review turn-around time is to implement those 30 code review best practices.