Getting the best out of software teams

While some organisations regard  IT as purely an operational expense, those that have embarked on digitisation initiatives see software as a strategic asset.

Those organisations further along on the digitisation of business operations often build out internal software development expertise – a team of software engineers who know the business and are able to use the best tools they can get their hands on, to deliver software-enabled business outcomes.

What is surprising is the fact that for some software teams, the tooling is inadequate. A recent study from analyst Freeform Dynamics reported that 20% of organisations surveyed by The CIO Watercooler, admit that their development tools and processes are not fit for purpose. Although the survey sample of 50 senior IT managers is small, it is worrying that some of them have grave concerns over their organisations’ ability to develop software. If business leaders truly believes that software is a strategic asset, then they should strive to achieve the best possible software developer experience.

At an empirical level this involves providing the right tooling and developer environment to ensure software engineering teams can remain productive. However the situation is never that straightforward. Developers do not work in a vacuum; they need to adhere to corporate standards. This may involve using only approved application programming interfaces (APIs) and a specific subset of open source libraries and learning all the nuances in the business’ software delivery pipeline. They may need to rely on a chaotic system of record, built over many years, that will inevitably be associated with an exponentially complex learning curve. Many of these things will hamper the organisations’ ability to tap into the very best talent.

Google recruits people who are curious to solve problems.  Developers in any organisation like to write code and solve business problems. Anything else is a distraction.

Rewards and risks of askign AI for help

One of the most exciting areas making news at the moment is using AI to “write” code.

Paulo Rosado founder and CEO of low code tools company, Outsystems, believes Generative AI will help software developers accomplish much more in less time.However, although generative AI can be used to kickstart innovation, Rosado points out that this means developers reach the point in the project when they have to deal with issues like security, governance, code quality, and managing the entire application lifecycle, a whole lot quicker.

One could almost argue, AI is taking all the fun bits out of hand-coding, leaving the less interesting chores to human software developers. This, clearly, is far from a positive developer experience, so  we should  proceed down this path of generative AI in coding, extremely cautiously.

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