How to Increase Productivity Through Developer Empowerment
July 11, 2023

Stephen Atwell

Increase DevOps productivity by empowering your software development team. More than half of surveyed development professionals report experiencing burnout, which decreases service delivery quality and speed. In turn, slow deployment velocity and unreliable apps hurt the bottom line.

Developer empowerment counteracts burnout. You can't spike productivity with a piecemeal approach to addressing problems. Instead, give your developers the tools, support and autonomy to find solutions and alleviate friction so they can deliver their best work.

Let's explore how you can elevate your software development team's performance through empowerment.

The Connection Between Empowerment and Productivity

Deficient tools and inefficient systems and processes hold developers back. Teams with manual workflows spend too much time completing basic tasks, hampering DORA metrics (deployment frequency, change lead time, failure rates and resolution time) and leaving little time for innovation. The resulting developer frustration and burnout exacerbate productivity challenges.

To optimize performance, developers require elite engineering tools, systems and processes combined with a healthy and supportive team culture. With less friction, teams can accelerate and improve development and deployment to create a better customer experience. An added benefit: empowered teams are more passionate about their work.

What Does Developer Empowerment Look Like?

Start empowering your developers by evaluating DORA metrics. These numbers can indicate where friction and bottlenecks occur, highlighting areas for improvement. Issues usually fall into three buckets: tools, systems/processes and company culture.

Best-in-class, purpose-driven tools

As organizations accelerate their transition to cloud-native architectures, developers have more ways to approach the same engineering tasks. The steady growth in complexity introduces friction. Legacy tools, monoliths and general-purpose platforms contribute to the problem. DevOps professionals need tools to abstract complexity, not add to it.

The average team uses between six and ten tools, and a third of developers spend at least half their time on toolchain integration and maintenance, significantly decreasing productivity. Building a streamlined tech stack and incorporating a pipeline orchestration solution to achieve continuous deployment, eliminates manual tasks, reduces errors and frees up more time for coding.

When choosing tools, pick developer-first solutions with automation, built-in security and high performance. Invest in technology that supports modern practices, allows for customization and scales with business growth.

Improved systems and processes

Monotonous and tedious tasks result in inefficiency, boredom and burnout. More than half of developers report too many manual steps in their deployment process. Developers' true value is their code, so why should they spend time on tasks that can be automated?

In the DevOps model, developers are increasingly assuming responsibility for operations tasks, such as deployment, leading to increased workloads and assignments for functions they are not passionate about. They want to write code, not deploy it. Continuous deployment empowers these developers with automated testing, monitoring and code advancement.

Automation makes deployment easier and less risky, meaning teams can push out even minor updates. By removing the variability of manual processes, implementing progressive rollouts and collecting continuous feedback, continuous deployment provides developers with confidence and assurance that their code is working correctly. Developers can quickly respond to software issues and changing market needs, increasing customer satisfaction and driving revenue.

Supportive company culture

While retooling technology and processes removes significant friction, you cannot forget the human element of development. Your developers have lives outside of work. Creating an atmosphere that promotes work-life balance and flexibility leads to increased productivity.

Additionally, assign your team members tasks that match their skills. This goes back to developers not being deployment experts. They are good at writing code, and that's what they tend to be most passionate about. Allowing DevOps professionals to work on tasks aligned with their skills and interests increases productivity and provides business value while also boosting individual job satisfaction.

You've heard it before — communication is crucial. Solicit input and feedback from your teams to inform technology investments and process improvements. Gathering this information helps you find effective solutions and empowers your employees. Enabling communication between teams improves cooperation and efficiency.

Investing in quality tools and processes with team input demonstrates your support for your team and sets them up for success. The upfront investments will more than pay for themselves in increased productivity and software quality. When organizational leaders pursue developer empowerment, teams are more inspired and committed to doing their best work.

Stephen Atwell is Principal Product Manager at
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