Nurture Software Engineer Happiness with Data 

by Alastair Wilkes in

Fundamentals to Fostering a Developer-Safe Work Culture

Engineering productivity directly relies on software engineer happiness. Happy software engineers are more productive and experience more job satisfaction. But how can organizations build work environments that better foster software engineer happiness and productivity? 

Understanding the elements that affect developers daily, for better and for worse, will help your organization nurture your developer happiness. Teams need to instill a developer-safe work culture where developers don’t fear repercussions and can avoid risk. 

To establish a culture that nurtures software engineer happiness, you need to understand the elements that make up their developer experience and where the most significant risks lie.

Software Engineer Happiness vs. Developer Experience

Software engineer happiness relies on creating the best work atmosphere possible, so developers operate at the top of their game with ease, comfort, and velocity. For leadership, this means taking a hard look at the tools, systems, and culture surrounding software development and software engineers at your organization and making necessary improvements.

Engineer happiness is a contributing factor and often a measurement of Developer Experience.

Developer Experience (DX) describes the collective experiences of a developer throughout the software development life cycle, including tools, systems, and programs. Developer Experience includes a cultural element: work atmosphere, collaboration, leadership, and communication. 

When orgs focus on improving Developer Experience, they look at how to increase the productivity and happiness of developers by making their work lives as efficient as possible. 

But DX is not just about productivity – developer safety from risk is fundamental to software engineer happiness.

5 Fundamental Building Blocks of Developer Safety

When we say developer safety, we’re not talking about OSHA standards. A developer-safe work culture makes software engineers feel safe from common developer risks. Here are five foundational blocks for developer safety. 

1. Reliable releases with an established CI/CD pipeline 

An established CI/CD is vital to a developer-safe work culture because the automation allows for reliable releases without labor-intensive, time-sucking manual intervention. The CI/CD pipeline helps software engineers deliver releases faster without risking quality by automatically building code, running tests, and deploying new features. 

The CI/CD pipeline reduces human error and creates a faster feedback loop for developers, ultimately increasing the shipping speed. For a faster workflow that encourages optimal software engineer performance (and happiness!), an established CI/CD pipeline is essential. 

2. Faster anomaly detection with proper unit test cases

Unit testing offers an opportunity to speed up development cycles. Thanks to the test simplicity and the limited variables involved, unit tests are quick to run. Proper unit test cases are essential to software engineer happiness because they offer an opportunity to speed up development cycles. 

There are common scenarios where unit tests can become inefficient and introduce risk. Unit testing inefficiencies can bloat testing cycles and tax resources. Whether teams face large test suite sizes or need to build a test executable application to run unit tests, software engineer happiness is at risk when unit testing becomes a bottleneck to releases. 

Having efficient unit test cases is paramount to a safe development environment, helping software engineers quickly detect anomalies and prevent accidental bugs from getting shipped with the final product. Aside from avoiding bugs, proper unit test cases also boost the confidence of software engineers, as it helps to create a more reliable engineering environment.

3. Stable safeguards and disaster recovery plans for peace of mind

Accidents happen. But developers shouldn’t have to fear repercussions during every release. Safeguards and disaster recovery plans are crucial for nurturing software engineer happiness. Disaster recovery plans focus on restoring software, hardware systems, and data after an issue like human error or ransomware attacks.

Everyone likes to feel protected. A disaster recovery plan safeguards data and reduces offline time as developers rebuild a production environment after a mishap. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan should protect against infrastructure and application failovers and test system and production disruptions.

4. Genuine team collaboration 

It’s mission-critical to promote an atmosphere of camaraderie, not competition, to create a developer-safe work culture and foster software engineer happiness. Share responsibility and encourage collaboration to ensure challenges are faced amongst the entire team and not the sole responsibility of a single developer. 

When developers know their entire DevOps team supports them, software engineer happiness can skyrocket - along with a willingness to experiment, take chances, and fail faster together.

5. Dependable standardized tooling 

Software engineers that get stuck are unhappy. Remove the risk of developers getting bogged down by poor, ineffective tooling and infrastructure, and make it a priority to find the best, most dev-friendly tools available. 

It might be time to reduce the tools and programs used during the workday. Too many tools and systems, each with unique rules or guidebooks, can drown software engineers in a tidal wave of information. Make it a priority to standardize data-driven tools that allow developers to work smarter, not harder, and we promise you’ll see software engineer happiness spike.

How to Protect Software Engineer Happiness with Your Existing Data

A developer-safe work culture is fundamental to software engineer happiness and positive developer experience. But even with safety protocols in place, your bloated development lifecycle might be harming your developer experience. 

Even with an established DevOps culture and CI/CD pipeline, your test suite can hinder productivity and deflate software engineer happiness. That’s where Launchable comes in. 

Launchable helps improve developer happiness by using existing data to shorten testing wait times, so developers can focus on innovation and ship higher-quality software faster.

Slash testing times with Predictive Test Selection using code and metadata to rank tests on their likelihood of failure. By running a dynamically selected subset of tests most likely to fail, Predictive Test Selection helps to reduce long-running test suites significantly. 

Launchable’s Test Suite Insights also improves the lives of software engineers by fixing test suite entropy. It’s an unfortunate truth that most DevOps teams have a difficult time answering questions about their test suites due to a lack of accessible metrics or insights. Launchable’s Test Suite Insights handles this problem by offering four critical areas of insight to give software engineers the tools to make the best, data-based decisions on their test suites. 

  • Identify flaky tests in your test suite so your engineers don’t waste time figuring out if tests are unreliable. Help your team squash potential problematic tests early so they can launch fearlessly.
  • Clock test session duration by identifying increases in test session time so your engineers can take action when their cycle time spikes upwards.
  • Highlight test session frequency and track which tests run less often. Help your software engineers spot low-performing metrics like increased cycle time, reduced quality, or reduced changes, and then quickly work to fix the health of the test suite. 
  • Flag tests that fail more frequently, with test session failure ratio. Using your existing data, help your engineers track if a release is becoming unstable.

Ready to make your software engineers happier? Improve developer happiness with data-driven pipelines and smarter (faster) testing - request a proof of concept today.

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