8 Ways to Increase Developer Productivity

Here's where to look within your business and operations to get the most out of your development team.

Whether technology is the core of your business, or it plays a supporting role, there’s no avoiding the impact it brings to modern working life. To gain that competitive edge, more and more enterprises are looking at getting the very best performance from their development teams, and this begins by maximizing their productivity. In this article, we look at 8 top tips for getting the most out of developers. I’ve broken the advice down into three broad categories but, of course, they’re all interlinked.

Engineering methodology

1. Adopt agile methodologies

The waterfall methodology can seriously hinder developer productivity, by forcing testing and release work for multiple features into one big batch. Suddenly, a small merge conflict that would’ve been a quick fix becomes a release-wide issue because it impacts multiple features.

Instead, adopt agile methodologies, which encourage smaller units of work that can be delivered incrementally, accelerating the path to feedback and ultimately, to delivery.

2. Leverage DevOps practices

Stepping on from Agile, DevOps practices can further streamline the development lifecycle by instructing you how to iteratively release small changes. DevOps should integrate reliable automation for testing, builds and deployments, which will reduce manual work and human errors.

By removing process-driven tasks like pushing development work to testing environments, you give your developers more time to focus on value-add tasks. This increases productivity as new development work can be completed faster.

3. Streamline The Code Review Process

Set a framework for code reviews, such as pull request templates and automated style checks. This will support your developers in communicating the changes they’ve made and lessen the burden on reviewers to remove small human errors such as incorrect apostrophe use.

It also helps to structure the feedback process, by setting clear expectations for how much detail a reviewer should include and suggesting tips for efficient reviews such as shorthand for common errors like blank lines.


4. Focus on Continuous Learning

It’s easy to avoid setting aside time for learning among the pressure of deadlines, but this actually harms developer productivity in the long run as you prevent your team from developing and upskilling.

To prevent your developers’ training time from being taken over by a project, make sure you set aside dedicated periods on a regular basis for developers to learn and experiment with new tools or languages.

5. Prioritize Technical Debt Reduction

In the same tone, make sure you prioritize technical debt reduction as this can be a huge productivity loss in the long-run that could see your developers sinking time and resources into huge overhauls or new implementations.

Clearly set out your technical debt reduction tasks and prioritize, so developers can continuously chip away at these over the long-term, rather than having to deal with an unmanageable amount of work when things need to be overhauled.

6. Foster A Culture of Open Communication

Establish regular stand-ups to help developers have visibility over each other’s work, which encourages accountability and reduces misunderstandings. This is also a great opportunity for developers to help one another with fixes or different approaches, which can help streamline workflows.

And, make sure to provide regular check-ins for small groups or as 1-1s, so your developers can ask for more detailed feedback on their work or approach.


7. Use Efficient Development Tools

Many developers feel blocked by inefficient tooling, which slows down their development and release process. Using Integrated Development Environments, such as Visual Studio Code, can make the development process far smoother. And they often have productivity-boosting plug-ins too, such as code linters, formatters, and debuggers that can help prevent human errors.

8. Enhance Collaboration with Version Control Systems

Version control systems create a centralized repository where every developer’s work is tracked. These can help give visibility over work going on across the team, prevent unnecessary duplication of work, and encourage collaboration as developers can work on the same feature simultaneously.

Closing thoughts

Developer productivity is harnessed through a careful combination of development environments and physical environments, and between methodologies and mutual collaboration. Getting all sides of this equation balanced out can drive a result that is greater than the sum of its parts and see your development teams reach new productivity heights.

Rob Cowell

Rob Cowell is Devops Advocate at Gearset, and author of “Salesforce DevOps for Architects.”

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Rob Cowell
Rob Cowell is Devops Advocate at Gearset, and author of “Salesforce DevOps for Architects.”