How To Get C-suite Buy-in for DevEx Investments

Secure green light for your developer experience (DevEx) strategy & initiatives. The secret is in quantifying & mapping engineering to the bottom line.
Get C-suite Buy-in for Investing in DevEx

94% of organizations say that they have a DevEx strategy in place, while only 25% believe that the strategy is mature and delivers value. Despite all the opportunities that DevEx brings, the investments made toward a joyful DevEx are still sluggish. 

But this needs to change. 

With a 64.4% burnout rate in IT, economic headwinds, and the great resignation continuing, retaining engineering talent is a challenge for CIOs & IT leaders. Hence, it is more important than ever for the top leadership to ramp up the investments into improving the developer productivity, the developer experience (DevEx), joy, and well-being.

You, as an engineering manager, CTO, or CIO, might already know the impact/benefits of investing in developer experience. But the challenge is to get the rest of the C-suite to buy-in the DevEx strategy, especially the CFO, CEO, and the board of directors

Why so?

  • First, the challenge is such initiatives aren’t just cost-intensive, but also demand a cultural shift in engineering processes & how people work. This steep change curve is what scares the C-suite.
  • Second, the DevEx advocates don’t talk in the language the C-suite understands, i.e., Financial Numbers, aka Money. 

Read this insight to find out how you can overcome the above challenges and get your CFO, CEO, and investors to buy into your DevEx initiatives strategy.

How to Pitch for DevEx Investments to the CXOs?

Speak the linguistic dialect of the C-suite executives. Help them see that the DevEx strategy is for the business's sustainability & profitability. 

Note: If your CTO is not convinced about DevEx initiatives, read our blog on 7 reasons to give to your CTO for investing in developer experience. The current blog is more about winning the trust of the CEO, COO, CMO, investors & other stakeholders who would put the rubber stamp on the DevEx initiatives proposal. 

1. Quantify all the Value Propositions

Let’s say, in your proposal, you’re suggesting investing in a log analyzer tool like Splunk. Then try the 2-step strategy to win c-suite trust & get buy-ins.

  • Highlight how manual issue identification, root cause analysis & diagnosis can take hours. Especially, for large distributed systems. Increasing MTTD and MTTR and slowing the velocity metrics.
  • Prove the utility of a log analyzer tool in minimizing developer interruptions, and maximizing maker time.
  • Show the average time that a developer spends trying to identify the issue without a log analyzer, vs. the time spent with a log analyzer.

The same applies to all the tooling-based investments. You have to explain the problem it solves. Then be it IDEs, browser dev tools, AI code generator tools, code quality & review tools, CI/CD platforms, software development & testing frameworks, infrastructure orchestration & monitoring tools, security tools, communication & collaboration tools, or code documentation tools.

But all this is what a CTO would buy into. To have the CEO & CFO on your side, your narrative needs to be further personalized & revenue-rationalized. 

Map all the benefits of investing in developer experience to the business’s bottom line. Share with the c-suite the findings of a Forrester report:

2. Communicate The DevEx Impact on Engineering Productivity & Project Success

Investing in devEx initiatives has helped 74% of organizations to unlock higher Developer productivity. DevEx means reducing friction from SDLC workflows. It means investing in Dev tools and inculcating a culture that maximizes the maker time metrics. A developer-first culture helped 81% of organizations improve developer retention.

Better productivity & talent retention strengthen the innovation gears of your organization. DevEx investments improve developer productivity, which translates into better engineering velocity metrics (indirectly, it’s a measure of value delivery rate to the end customers). In fact, 77% of organizations investing in DevEx noticed a significant positive impact on the time to market. This could be because happy developers tend to write quality code with fewer bugs (comparatively), which results in lower technical debt, an increase in code commits, PRs raised, PRs reviewed & PRs merged, high deployment frequency (DF), and low code-churn. As a result, 75% of organizations experienced higher customer attraction & retention rates. Plus, 82% of organizations performed well on customer satisfaction metrics.

3. Translate Ideas Into Revenue Opportunities

Also, the C-suite may just buy in when you tell them how DevEx impacts profitability & revenue. Improving DevEx also means investing in modernizing SDLC workflows with infrastructure orchestration & monitoring tools. This helps DevOps teams proactively respond to security threats in real time. Ultimately, minimizes business losses due to breaches or system downtime/failure. Not to mention, robust security improves business reputation & recognition, customer loyalty, and assists you in competitive market positioning. Thanks to improved innovation muscles, and happy customers, 85% organizations reported a positive impact on revenue growth, and 81% improved profitability as well.

In short, to get buy-in for developer experience initiatives from the top leadership, make your pitch personalized (so that HR, Finance, and other teams support you), and get revenue-focused.

4. Pitch for Incremental/Phased Investment

Strive for gradual progress, recognizing that both large enterprises and smaller businesses often grapple with budget limitations. But you also need to move the needle. So, come up with a strategy for enhancing developer experience that doesn’t feel like a mission impossible. Basically,

  • Categorize developer experience into different segments based on outcomes. It could be reducing developer friction, streamlining SDLC, optimizing infrastructure, etc.
  • Prepare phased project documentation with budget infusion estimates, timeline, expected tangible outcomes, and impact on the bottom line.
  • Factor in the cultural changes as well in your project documentation. For example, if you’re adopting GitOps to streamline infrastructure operations, it would reshape the roles & responsibilities of the operations team, release engineers, configuration managers, and others. 

Persist Until DevEx Initiatives Get a Green Flag

For enhancing developer experience, getting the buy-in from the C-suite is undeniably crucial. 

However, obtaining approvals or pouring resources into DevEx initiatives doesn't automatically translate to better business results. There are multiple factors at play.

For instance, siloed departments can hinder innovation. So, inter-team collaboration is going to be a key factor for DevEx's success. You need to foster a culture of developer autonomy, ownership, and accountability, which again improves the developer experience. But cultural transformation is not simple. A common bummer is resistance to change. Then there is the challenge of re-skilling the workforce to help them adapt to the new technologies and engineering practices.

The best leg forward to overcome these challenges is to improve your overall engineering workflow visibility. 

Engineering workflow visibility tools (say ‘Hi’ to Hatica) are the underrated and unsung heroes of your DevEx initiatives. With engineering management platforms, you can help the C-suite to gain data-driven visibility into your engineering processes, practices, and projects. It helps you to clearly visualize, and communicate how the investments impact the bottom line, and most likely, win their support.

Icing on the cake, Hatica is a perfect match for your DevEx initiatives, as it empowers you to place significant focus on the well-being of your developers

As a takeaway,

  • Be shamelessly persistent about getting the buy-in for DevEx initiatives
  • Become better at mapping the engineering activities to the business bottom line.

Good luck with your DevEx transformation!

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Table of Contents
  • How to Pitch for DevEx Investments to the CXOs?
  • 1. Quantify all the Value Propositions
  • 2. Communicate The DevEx Impact on Engineering Productivity & Project Success
  • 3. Translate Ideas Into Revenue Opportunities
  • 4. Pitch for Incremental/Phased Investment
  • Persist Until DevEx Initiatives Get a Green Flag

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