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DevEx increases productivity.

We now have data validating the benefits of developer (DevEx).

require a good DevEx to solve complex tasks, collaborate with peers, and unleash their creativity, so providing one is a smart business move. This is something we hear from customers all the time.

However, conversations often halt when executives ask for complex data on what their business will gain by improving DevEx. While we have anecdotal evidence, we have yet to have the data to satisfy this question. Our new research, which uses statistical analysis to pinpoint the impact of crucial DevEx factors, such as flow state, cognitive load, and feedback loops, provides answers by improving productivity and innovation at individual, team, and organizational levels.

We partnered with DX, which helps teams measure developer , to leverage their insights and expertise to conduct this research. We created a set of research hypotheses, developed questions, and surveyed more than 20 industry-diverse companies using work design theory. We ran rigorous statistical analyses to see which measures were validated and significant. We documented our survey questions so others could reuse our work and provided step-by-step guidance on advocating for DevEx and measuring the results.

Our research provides evidence-based outcomes and advice that business leaders everywhere can use to make the case for investing in DevEx. The details are available in the summary below and a new report.

According to the study, who carve out significant deep work time enjoy a 50% productivity boost. High-value work requires minimizing distractions, which can be everything from Slack messages to meetings to peers asking for help. It can be challenging to reserve blocks of time, especially in distributed teams across multiple time zones. However, providing an atmosphere where maximize their flow state can pay high dividends.

Dr. Eirini Kalliamvakou, the study's staff researcher at and co-author, says, “To optimize building code, you need the right environment. Implementing practices that enable your developers to enter and stay in the flow is a winning move.”

Adobe is an example of a company that recognizes the value of providing an effective working environment for developers. CJ Dotson, senior PM of developer productivity at Adobe, notes that “when technology is what you sell, investments in DevEx are not optional. Adobe's investment in DevEx leads to higher developer satisfaction and better business outcomes.”

The DevEx study shows that developers who find their work engaging feel 30% more productive. This stat should encourage organizations to rethink the distribution of tasks. Are the same developers working on less desirable projects that could lead to burnout? Are teams regularly engaging in tasks they find boring or disconnected from the company's mission? To optimize their work, ensure that teams are usually excited about the projects on their plate.

Dr. Nicole Forsgren, partner researcher at and co-author of the study, says, “Providing deep work and exciting, engaging projects are some of the biggest things companies can do to improve productivity.”

Reducing cognitive load

Developers with a high understanding of their code tend to be 42% more productive than those with low or no understanding, which is a common phenomenon. The reasons for low comprehension could be poor or outdated documentation, lack of proper onboarding, or the fast pace of innovation with AI.

According to Forsgren, the lack of understanding of one's code can frustrate most developers, mainly as multiple people connect and develop code. The quality of developer (DevEx) is critical because code comprehensibility is essential.

Kalliamvakou suggests that good tooling can be critical, and certain technologies like Copilot can help developers better understand their code and improve their productivity in the long term.

Cumbersome processes can stifle innovation and create frustration, while intuitive, streamlined processes can boost innovation. Our research shows that developers who have intuitive processes feel they are 50% more innovative.

Forsgren points out that it is sometimes about something other than technology. If developers can find ways to remove barriers and friction, they will unlock many possibilities.

Etsy's Director of Engineering, Dermot Russell, agrees with this viewpoint, noting that Etsy's enablement initiatives have improved developers' day-to-day experiences while enabling rapid software delivery as the organization has grown.

Improving feedback loops

Efficient feedback loops are crucial in the world of development. As per research, developers who report fast code turnaround times feel 20% more innovative than those who don't. Getting quick feedback allows developers to move quickly while maintaining curiosity and drive. It helps them stay in the flow and develop the next big thing.

Improving feedback loops can positively impact an organization's overall effectiveness and developer satisfaction. For instance, Thomas Newton, UKG's VP of developer acceleration, believes that by reducing friction and waste from developers' daily work, they can ship high-quality software faster while improving happiness and engagement. This creates a virtuous cycle.

Quick feedback loops also have another benefit: teams that respond faster to developers' questions report 50% less technical debt. In other words, good documentation pays off. Documenting common developer questions and having tooling that enables developers to find the responses they need quickly allows them to increase their agility.

Nimble developers pave the way for agile teams and organizations. “So often, if you're a developer, you must wait for feedback,” Forsgren notes. “You get interrupted. You're constantly stalled. You have to figure out a cumbersome process. But if, instead, you can collaborate quickly, have no interruptions, use intuitive technologies, and stay in the flow—that's when you can problem-solve, be creative, and get work done, which will benefit the team and entire organization.”

The path forward

Investing in software development is crucial for driving innovation. Companies need to create and maintain high-quality software that aligns with their objectives regardless of the industry. Therefore, prioritizing the development (DevEx) is a necessity.

As a business leader, achieving profitability and promoting innovation are top priorities, and one of the most effective means of achieving these goals is enabling a good DevEx. The solid data and evidence in our research give us the necessary support to make a compelling case for the broader community.

Please read the entire research paper, DevEx in action: A study of its tangible impacts.

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