Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: John Katrick, William Schmarzo, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

How to Stop Your Developers from Jumping Ship | @DevOpsSummit #Agile #DevOps

For developers working across a broken workflow, the frustration can be felt acutely

We are experiencing a ‘crisis of engagement,' according to a survey by management consultancy Gallup, with a staggering 87 percent of employees worldwide disengaged with their jobs. While there are many factors that can influence an employee's contentment - from support to compensation to job security - a common grievance in software development is disempowerment, where talented individuals are feeling hampered by their working environment.

Operating within a flawed system is infuriating in any profession. But for developers working across a broken workflow, the frustration can be felt more acutely. One of the major bones of contention is that developers find themselves working in a way that conflicts with their training and established best practices, one that is not conducive with Agile and DevOps working methodologies and prevents them from optimizing their tools-of-choice.

A main contributor to an unproductive working environment is a fragmented toolchain, which is a regular occurrence at organizations worldwide. Many of them are adopting a best-of-breed approach to tool procurement without a holistic investment strategy. Individual specialists, teams and disciplines are specifying a tool (or version thereof) as and when required - i.e., a project manager with CA Clarity PPM, a tester in HP ALM, a QA in HPE QC, a developer in JIRA and so on - with little consideration as to how it may impact the rest of the software lifecycle.

While it is logical to equip employees with the best tools for the job, this ad-hoc and unsynchronized approach is littered with time bombs that could explode at any time, negatively impacting a developer's satisfaction and, ultimately, an organization's software delivery capability. So what can be done to stop developers jumping ship to join Facebook, Netflix, et al?

Grounds for divorce
Any investment strategy must consider software lifecycle integration (SLI), otherwise an organization is quietly laying the foundation for an unproductive environment that will come back to haunt it. Tools in the software lifecycle are not designed to integrate with other third-party tools, meaning they do not naturally communicate with each other, and project-critical data typically becomes siloed within the tools.

The result is a workflow with little-to-no visibility, traceability or governance across the lifecycle, with stakeholders unable to share information with other stakeholders, greatly impacting collaboration. Such a dynamic can frustrate a developer in several ways, all of which are avoidable. Here are just a few of the issues caused by a disconnected toolchain:

  • Agile and DevOps blasphemy: Collaboration, interaction and information are the triumvirate of Agile and DevOps. The flow of artifacts between tools can be considered more important than the tool itself. As both methodologies are widely accepted as industry standards, it's understandable that most developers will be looking to apply the principles in their day-to-day work within their teams. But if their tool is isolated and they're unable to share or receive vital data at a click of button, they will become discontented as their training is wasted and skill set underutilized.
  • Developers just want to...develop: Developers are genuinely passionate about their work. They're problem solvers who love tackling issues with code, taking great pleasure in working with their colleagues to build and maintain projects, drive innovation, challenge the status quo and, significantly, create value for their company. But it's a tough job; intensive coding is an all-encompassing specialty that requires undivided attention. They don't - and shouldn't have to - spend valuable hours lost in boring non-value administrivia (status meetings, emails, data entry, spreadsheet merging, etc.). Such tasks can be minimalized, or even removed completely. If they're not, don't be surprised if your developers seek new pastures.
  • Friend or foe: If a tool isn't implemented correctly and working in unison with the lifecycle, it can quickly become a burden or, worse, a foe. Isolating a quality tool can quickly strip it of its capabilities and functionality, as developers spend more time fighting the tool than harnessing its powers. Benign issues become malignant, and great and engaged developers become frustrated and disinterested.
  • Rotten apple: As the adage goes, ‘one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.' Team unity, especially in software development, is integral to Agile and DevOps principles. A strong software lifecycle needs all players in the game to be happy in their roles or balls will be dropped. If a developer is disenchanted by her role within the team because of inefficient processes and procedures, it's only a matter of time before her colleagues become demoralized too. Beware the domino effect.

Pain relief
Addressing a fragmented software lifecycle is the first step in creating harmony among your software development and delivery personnel. An integrated software value stream has many benefits, but at its heart, it's all about removing waste and getting rid of all the annoying work that plagues a developer's day.

What do we mean by ‘software value stream'? A value stream is a notion borrowed from Lean manufacturing; it's the sequence of activities an organization undertakes to deliver a customer request, focusing on both the production flow from raw material to end-product and the design flow from concept to realization.

Looking at software development from a value stream perspective puts the emphasis on creation of customer value, rather than simply looking at these activities as a process. It's all about the ‘Big Picture' - improving the whole process, not just the parts - to minimize waste and ensure customers get exactly what they asked for.

How does an integrated values stream boost employee engagement? The troubles experienced by a leading global bank during its four-year Agile and DevOps transformation illustrates the point perfectly. Given the nature of its business, it's critical that all information is consistent across all the bank's systems, yet it lacked an automated flow of information between tools.

This meant that developers were still rekeying from one tool to another, taking up to two hours a day in duplicate entry. Not only was this a huge waste of valuable labor hours that cost the business up to $10 million annually in lost value, developers often got so frustrated that they would leave. This case study is painfully familiar, and again, entirely avoidable.

A Developer's Paradise
An integrated software value stream yields many benefits for developers (and the rest of the software lifecycle), including:

  • Information flows automatically across teams without costly manual intervention and oversight, removing non-value work and bottlenecks.
  • Collaboration happens within the work, rather than in email or disconnected tools.
  • Reports and analytics emerge from a holistic view of all the artifacts.
  • Traceability and governance become a natural act rather than an expensive manual process.
  • Visibility into the value stream enables managers to understand project status and optimize processes, meaning developers have the freedom and insight to build extraordinary software.
  • A modular Agile toolchain means forward-thinking developers can plug in new tools (or new versions of their existing tools) to experiment with new ideas and innovations.

As a result, these organizations experience:

  • Faster time-to-market
  • Reduced development cost
  • Ability to add more features, more efficiently, while improving quality and reducing risk
  • Ability to leverage their software development capability to bring differentiating value to their businesses

And perhaps most importantly, it results in high developer engagement and job satisfaction; the fuel behind any software-driven organization that's looking to transform its business in a digital world.

More Stories By John Rauser

John Rauser is the IT Manager at Tasktop Technologies, a global enterprise software company. He also serves as VP Operations at the board of the Project Management Institute - Canadian West Coast Chapter, providing leadership and expertise on technology issues. He has a passion for discussing the business impacts of technology and analyzing strategies for managing IT.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...