I am in Singapore and will be asking folks while here this week about the local attitudes about developers and candid reflections on the state of IT and developer culture. I suspect that much of what I learned in Hong Kong previously will apply, but I could also be surprised.
Many of the developers I interact with work in enterprise companies. And they all complain about the same challenges; limited resources, lousy work cultures, minimal input into design decisions, and a lack of respect. They are essentially second-class citizens.
This attitude is nothing new however. It stems from the historic view that IT (developers included) are a cost center and simply there to do the bidding for the business. Rather than being a partner to the business, IT garners as much respect as….this guy.
Unfortunately, this view is causing companies to lose customers, market share, and their competitive positioning. This quote from a Forrester brief explains it went:
Without engaged developers, organizations will fall behind the competition’s digital experiences, because a business’ ability to iterate quickly to meet or exceed customer expectations ultimately depends on its own developers.
The trend in enterprises has been to be more agile and responsive to customers. But the past thirty years has seen a rapid diminishing of IT through outsourcing to agencies, IT service providers, and contractors to reduce cost and labor. Now the very forces that spurred on this trend have enterprises playing catch up to compete against the startups.
Just as you cannot “buy the DevOps”, you cannot just hire out innovation. That is an integral function of a company. That innovation requires cross-collaborative teams and the people that can contribute to the design and development of new ideas.
How do enterprises change the culture to one that respects and acknowledges developers as an important part of this innovation process?
As our CEO Joel often says, it is about the environment you create. Most workspaces are anathema to productivity and creativity. You also need to make a concerted effort to hire great developers. Most companies simply do not make the interviewing and onboarding process pleasant for developers. Lastly, companies need to break down silos that cause divisions and added friction to communications across teams. To do this, organizations should invest in fostering an more open culture and provide enabling tools that enhance developer productivity and flow.
What have you seen help attract developers to enterprises? What are things you would change to make your own company more inviting to developers?
Did the Big Bang happen at a point?
OMG I visited the place where scientists first found evidence of the Big Bang!
We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.