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Your Software Development Team Will Benefit From These 4 Things

- based on GitLab Global Developer Report

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Managing a software development team is a challenge — but a rewarding one! If you get your work processes, team dynamics and — oh, just about a hundred other things — right, you can expect incredible results. At Ideamotive we have seen it many times how team synergy creates things beyond the capacity of individuals.

To have amazing results in any team, you need to ensure that people are happy and satisfied with their job in the first place. Studies show that job satisfaction and high performance at work are closely interconnected.

So what specific qualities make for a happy and efficient software development team? We have examined the recent GitLab 2018 Global Developer Report, and extracted the most important variables in the work of top developers.

Collaborative and transparent working environment

Gitlab: “94% of respondents said it’s important for them to work in a collaborative environment.”

Let’s address first things first. If you want your software development team to reach top levels of performance, you first have to make sure that the working environment encourages it. According to GitLab’s report, some of the most crucial qualities of such an environment include collaboration, good communication and transparency.

Collaborative team spirit means that every person in the team feels that their voice is being heard and that they can make decisions about their own work. This results in a positive approach to professional challenges and incentivises developers to cooperate, rather than compete with others.

The importance of good communication is rather self-explanatory. Because software development is such a complex process, it is virtually impossible to pursue it without having employees communicate to each other about what they are doing. The better the communication within the team, the better the work results.

Transparency and insight into what others’ are responsible for are also important factors for software development teams. If present, they encourage trust within the group and measuring productivity according to the results, rather than time spent working.

DevOps: the recipe for the most efficient workflow

GitLab: “A majority (67%) of all respondents agreed that using a DevOps workflow saves time during the development process; a sentiment also expressed at an even higher rate among managers, with 81% agreement.”

DevOps is a set of practices in software development that merges the development and operational areas of the whole working process. Additionally, it allows for rapid and frequent deployment to production. Many developers and managers report DevOps to help them ensure high quality at all stages of product delivery, and allow for smooth implementation of Automated and Continuous Deployment.

GitLab indicates that the main beneficiaries of DevOps and other strictly defined workflows are big teams. Research shows that smaller teams are often content with their ad hoc methodology and they don’t feel the need to implement rigid processes.

Contrary to what many people believe, practicing DevOps can be combined with other methodologies. At Ideamotive, for example, we call ourselves an agile software house in the first place. At the same time, we implement a lot of DevOps features in our workflow. For example, we successfully practice Continuous Deployment and blur the line between the Development and Operational stages.

Automated development processes

GitLab: “71% of respondents who practice DevOps also agreed automation is a high priority.”

A big reason why DevOps is so popular among top developers is because it encourages automation of various processes. This naturally contributes to increased efficiency of any software development team.

As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, process automation is becoming increasingly important for most businesses. In software development it plays a particularly significant role. This is because designing digital products involves a whole range of repetitive tasks, such as reporting, deploying or testing. These are the first in the queue to be automated and make time for developers to pursue more creative and problem solving-related activities.

According to GitLab’s report, one of the biggest time-wasters for software development teams is context-switching between tools and tasks. Well-optimised and automated work processes help reduce this time waste.

Open-source tools over closed-source ones

GitLab: “92% of respondents agree that open source tools are critical for software innovation.”

Relevant and high-quality tools are invaluable in optimising work of software development teams. Additionally, GitLab’s report discovered a curiosity about their usage. While a strong majority of both developers and managers claim that they have access to the best available tools, they also express that those very same tools are among their main points of concern.

The challenge of using highly advanced software development utensils or technologies is often connected to choosing the right one for a particular job. Because the nowadays tech landscape is ever-changing, it is hard keep up with what is currently the best possible option. Other most common challenges related to using software development tools include integration with the toolkit that’s already in stack or adoption of new tools.

Despite all those challenges, top software developers owe much of their great results to the use of the right tools. GitLab reports a strong preference among both devs and managers towards open-source tools over closed-source ones. The former are commonly considered to improve quality and security of software, as well as to streamline the development process.

The top four types of tools mentioned by Agile and DevOps practitioners include:

  • Version Control System
  • Integrated Development Environment
  • Chat/collaboration tool
  • Continuous Integration/Delivery

Top performance requires holistic approach

As you can see, maximizing the potential of your software development team requires quite some work and concern. The role of managers in software industry extends far beyond distributing tasks among the developers.

Ideally, managers would be able to look holistically at the production process, team dynamics, workplace and the use of tools. Only when they see those as interconnected parts of a whole working system, can they ensure that their software development team performs at a top level.

Originally published at on April 16, 2018.



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