Dev Teams Carry Projects Through the Pandemic
March 09, 2021

Matthew D. Groves
Couchbase

While we all hope the stresses of 2020 will be quickly put behind us, there are also some solid encouraging signs on the horizon. Looking at Couchbase's annual IT decision makers survey results reveals both the pain and the optimism around development projects.

Digital Transformation (DX) Projects were top of mind as companies quickly scrambled to get them into operation faster than scheduled. How does one cram five-year DX plans into less than one year? By leaning on the superpowers of developer teams in new and more flexible ways!

450 senior leaders and CIOs were surveyed in 2020, and 92% of them revealed that developers were their weapon to adjust to unprecedented market changes. In this report they acknowledged that developers were the heroes of their corporate stories. 

Here is a finer breakdown by country:


Over 60% of all respondents (over 70% in US and France) acknowledged that flexibility of developer teams was essential.

Has the flexibility to change goals when needed been significantly helpful or indispensable in meeting digital transformation goals? — by country:


Understanding Developer Pressures

This rejuvenated view of developer power also meant that companies had to really listen to these heroes to ensure they had what they needed to prosper in their work. When asked about the challenges they face as development teams, the overwhelming response (49%) pointed to time pressures — "Asked to do too much in too little time."

Notably, other challenges such as skills, technology, project clarity were only around 20% of reported complaints — so it seems that some of the most basic needs may be well taken care of while the neverending demands to do more in less time remain.

Oddly, some respondents said they received no complaints "ever" or at least not "in the last 12 months." I think we all want to find the kind of workplace where needs are met that well, if true!

To see some of the different country dynamics, review the original report here.

Developer complaints:


From the other side of the relationship, how did companies view the performance of developers and their hyper-speed project plans?

The question asked CIOs how the schedule challenges were going. The results were surprising for me to see that a majority of projects appeared to be on schedule in most regions.

Are development teams ahead or behind schedule?


Size of Development Teams

I'd love to know more about what's going in the UK that they appear to be further behind than others. Perhaps this closing question helps to answer that. Respondents reveal how the size of their development teams have changed. On average, teams have grown globally by 20% but consider that the UK apparently was dragging that number down considerably.

The average change in development team size:


While 2021 won't make all the challenges and pressure magically disappear, there are several other great observations in the details of the report that hint at what is needed.

If there is to be a moral to this story, it would sound something like: "With increased project pressure, be very clear on expectations while supporting and growing development teams, or risk not keeping up with market demands."

Matthew D. Groves is Technical Marketing Manager at Couchbase
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