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Nurture software developer heroes

Developer teams have been put under immense pressure to drive through digital transformation change, and they are now experiencing stress and burnout

During 2020, many organisations were forced into implementing their five-year digital transformation plans in a matter of months.  

Nearly all (95%) of the 450 senior IT decision-makers in the US, UK, France and Germany surveyed in a study by Couchbase described software developers as “heroes”. Almost two-thirds (63%) said that the flexibility to change their goals when needed has been significantly helpful or even indispensable in meeting their digital transformation goals.

The survey found that software development teams grew on average by 20%, from 51 to 61 members.

But nearly half (49%) reported that developers were being asked to do too much in too little time – a situation that could easily end in stress, fatigue and burnout.

According to Couchbase, the majority of organisations cannot get the best out of their developers. The survey reported that 86% of respondents experienced challenges with their development teams, while 40% said they struggle to set clear, measurable goals for the development team. A further 40% admit that they find it hard to ensure teams always have the right technology.

Couchbase believes that part of the problem is poor communications. Almost a third (31%) of the IT decision-makers surveyed, admit they are struggling to ensure development teams clearly understand the organisation’s strategic objectives and goals. Some said that even solving issues is a struggle in itself, with 31% reporting they had difficulty identifying and solving the challenges they face.

The company urged senior IT leaders to ensure their software development teams are not struggling to try to create innovative services with legacy technology that is not suited to the task, nor should they be expected to adapt immediately to new technology that requires a completely new skillset.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Yen, co-founder of Couchbase, said: “Even in the current crisis, organisations are investing in developers – in fact, our survey revealed that development teams have grown by an average 20% in 2020.

“To get the most out of this important investment, there needs to be investment in not just people, but in the technology, management and communication that will help individuals succeed.

“Ultimately, if businesses can help their developers become more agile and flexible, they will find it easier to ensure they are focused in the right direction. In an increasingly challenging world, developers have a vital role to play. Investing in them in the right way will help them play to win.”

Read more about developer skills

  • Being a competent manager and leading a successful software development team isn’t as easy as it looks. Explore the skills, tools and best practices that can strengthen your current workforce.
  • Over the past few weeks, Computer Weekly has explored the topic of what it means to be a modern software developer.
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