Developer experience key to productivity: GitHub

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 24 January, 2024

Developer experience key to productivity: GitHub

Improving the developer experience improves both productivity and collaboration, according to new research from developer platform GitHub.

The research found that developers who dedicate a significant time to deep work feel 50% more productive, while those who find their work engaging feel 30% more productive.

Meanwhile developers who find their tools and work processes intuitive feel they are 50% more innovative compared to those with harder to understand processes, and developers with tighter feedback loops report 50% less tech debt than those with looser loops.

Likewise, developers who report a high degree of understanding of their code feel 42% more productive than those with low or no understanding. Finally, developers reporting faster code reviews feel 20% more innovative than those with slower processes.

GitHub staff researcher and study co-author Dr Eirini Kalliamvakou said the results highlight the importance of environment and the developer experience to the output of coding work.

“To optimise building code, you need the right environment. Implementing practices that enable your developers to enter and stay in the flow is a winning move,” she said.

“If you’re a business leader who’s focused on being profitable and innovative, enabling a good DevEx is one of the key levers at your disposal. The research we published finally gives us the solid data and evidence we need to make the case to the larger community.”

Adobe is an example of a company that recognises the value of providing an effective working environment for developers. CJ Dotson, senior PM of developer productivity at Adobe, said: "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.”

Dr Nicole Forsgren, partner researcher at Microsoft and co-author of the study, said: “Providing deep work and exciting, engaging projects are some of the biggest things companies can do to improve productivity. Every developer has experienced the frustration of not understanding their code or its surrounding context well. Because so much of our code is interconnected and developed by multiple people, understandability is part of why having a good DevEx is so important.”

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