How Can I Improve My Developer Experience (DevEx)?

Find some useful tips to improve your Developer Experience, make your team happy and your company best place to work for software developers.

How Can I Improve My Developer Experience (DevEx)?

Improving your developer experience (DevEx or DX) is a worthy goal, as it can vastly enhance your team's productivity.

The developer experience is a lot like the user experience: obstacles in your team members' way must be smoothed out or eliminated for them to be happy. Just as great products prioritize users' wants and needs, so should a great developer experience—except your developers' wants and needs should take center stage instead.

What affects DevEx?

Many factors can impact developer experience, but these tend to fall under a few simple categories. Here are the top-level concepts you should consider when it comes to optimizing DevEx:

  • Cognition is the mental process of knowing, perceiving, and reasoning. Contributors to the developer experience under this umbrella term include tooling, techniques, and technical processes needed to get work done.
  • Emotion: Keeping developers' feelings in mind can work wonders for improving their productivity. This category includes collaboration efforts, a sense of respect, and attachment to the work being completed.
  • Aspiration: Aligning developers' efforts with your organization's goals ensures you're all geared up to succeed as a team. Details that decide whether developers' aspirations are in working order include plans for the future, milestones, and organizational values.
Cognition, Emotion and Aspiration are concepts that affect Developer Experience (DevEx or DX). They help to understand how developers perceive the development infrastructure, how they feel about their work and how they see the value of their contribution.
Source: Heise.de

Beyond having a good understanding of the categories covered above, it helps to have a few solid tactics in your arsenal to guide your developer experience enhancement efforts.

Strategies to improve your DevEx

The right strategies can improve your success rate in turbo-charging your team's developer experience. The tactics that follow should prove especially useful if you're unsure of the best place to get started in optimizing DevEx across your organization.

Choose your technological "stack" wisely

Picking out the perfect technology for your team to use for a given project is a pivotal step and one that will impact the development process just about as long as it lasts. The right technology streamlines and optimizes all tasks for your team members, effectively freeing up their time for the most important things they need to do. The wrong choice of technology, however, does just the opposite.

Here is an example of a relevant tech stack for a web application. Source: MongoDB

A bad tech stack destroys developers' collective efficiency, forcing them to fight the tools they should use to get things done. This extends beyond the bounds of mere hardware—programming languages, version control systems, third-party platforms, and automation suites all profoundly affect any development team's productivity. Great technological tools tend to match your team's unique needs and skillset, abstracting away all of the details that could potentially derail your development efforts.

Make quality assurance continuous

Plenty of development teams take the time to implement quality assurance practices, but surprisingly few consistently prioritize quality assurance by incorporating these practices into every stage of their development pipeline. Doing this can make it much easier to ship great code regularly and meet more demanding milestones in less time. However, manual processes are likely ineffective and largely impractical for top-notch QA. Enter automation to save the day.

Quality Assurance should be implemented and incorporated into each step of the software development pipeline.
All the steps of the Quality Assurance Process. Source: Invozone

Quality assurance is best automated at each step of the development process. Continuous integration and deployment/delivery (CI/CD) make this possible. On platforms like GitHub, the need for consistent quality assurance practices has been answered with GitHub Actions, a powerful CI/CD suite capable of handling all kinds of workflows—even totally custom ones. With the addition of sophisticated solutions such as Mergify's automation tools, you can eliminate the tedious code submission and review details distracting your developers while improving code quality in the process.

Keep distractions to a minimum

Dealing with complex codebases and an onslaught of new milestones that must be met is no easy feat for most developers. Topping off the teetering stack of responsibilities your development team has with endless meetings, calls, and suboptimal scheduling can make progressing toward set goals practically impossible. Instead, you should aim to preserve your team's focus by eliminating distractions.

Opt for emails to cut down on unnecessary meetings. Make unavoidable meetings less of a distraction by scheduling them at the end of the workday or right at the beginning instead of somewhere in the middle. Improvements like these can solve issues with development speeds and vastly improve DevEx.

Make development easier with Mergify ❤️

Development does not need to be painful or tedious. You can use Mergify to make the most of your team's time and focus by eliminating repetitive tasks on GitHub. Mergify makes automating merge queueing, reviewer assignment, and more a breeze. Give Mergify a try today to learn how it can help you get more done in less time.

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