In an ideal world, a software engineer's primary job includes writing code and running software. Ironically, an average engineer only codes around 30% of the time. So where does the rest 70% go? Most engineers spend their major work hours handling the business side of things, including software maintenance, and modernizing legacy infrastructure. In addition, if an organization is at a lower DevOps maturity level, it is the engineers that also have to lead the Ops: service stability, fix bugs that escaped QA, developing productivity tools, CI/CD workflows, and managing pre-commit testing.
Another non-core task that hampers developer productivity is hiring, taking interviews, and retaining software talents. Numbers speak volumes here- 40% of engineers disparage attending interview calls and terms the process too heavy to follow. Constant hiring calls from the top tier leave most engineers alienated from their core coding duties, causing frustration and even chronic developer burnout.
Context Switching: High-Cost, High-Impact Productivity Killer
In 2021, core coding days for engineers went down to 1.6 days a week. For engineers, constant meetings across a workday take most of their maker time. An average developer has almost 87 interruptions a day, and each interruption takes away another 10-15 minutes before the developer can get back to rewriting code. Most of these interruptions are caused by constant paging alerts and standup notifications.
While modern-day standups are supposed to last 10 minutes, they unwillingly extend to an hour. For others, attending meetings isn't an issue, but their unsustainable distribution across a day is. Another issue is skewed resource mismanagement towards KLTO. Devs are already under tremendous pressure to release complex products. On top of it, constant maintenance and operational tasks keep them hooked even outside work hours. This frequent firefighting to keep systems up and running overburdens developers and create well-being issues. In the past six months, 82% of engineers experienced burnout and severe health concerns. The numbers speak for themselves here!
All this constant toggling leaves developers no time for deep work. On average, a programmer only gets one undisturbed 2-hour work session per day.
Low developer productivity might snowball into a high product backlog, low quality, and difficult customer retention- negatively affecting the brand consensus. Productivity is not just about filling checkboxes every week; rather it means enjoying working and growing in an environment while taking care of your well-being.
So, how can engineering managers drive developer productivity? The best way to start with the burning issue is through identifying what prevents developers from doing their best work; for some teams it is higher communication debt, while for others, it is an unstreamlined SDLC. The real reasons could only be determined through higher visibility into the engineering system. Using an engineering analytics tool, like Hatica offers managers visibility into their team's work activities so meetings become more data-driven, and work highly productive.
The standard Hatica dashboard helps team leads identify developer heatmaps, interview and incident load, conduct async standups, and drive actionable insights from collated data reports. Hatica also combined external metrics like DORA to measure efficiency, while ensuring an effective maker schedule.