Every company employee faces challenges. Some are inundated with too much work. Some of the work itself might be challenging. And then there are those times when home life and work-life intersect to bring productivity to a screeching halt. Or maybe you’re in management and your duty is to eke out as much productivity as possible.
Such daily challenges do not exclude anyone in the company. However, developers face an onslaught of daily challenges that most other staff never have to deal with. If you live in a silo of management or ownership, you might be completely unaware of these challenges. When that veil between you and your developer teams is lifted, you might well gain a completely new level of respect for those employees.
But what are the challenges that modern developers face? Although some might be the same issues developers of previous generations have had to tackle, some are quite new. Let’s take a look at some of these obstacles (both old and new), so you can better understand the pressure your software engineers face daily.
The Constant Revolving Door of Tasks
Have you ever taken a look at a large project Kanban board for developers? One quick glance and you’ll immediately understand why developers can get burned out very quickly. A large project can have thousands of tasks, all of them interconnected and dependent on one another. If one of those tasks doesn’t get completed, any number of other tasks could be put on hold.
But the issue is not the interconnectedness or the number of tasks for a project, but the fact that the tasks never end. The second a big project is finished, it’s on to the next. There’s no break, no change of pace or practice. It’s just bam, bam, bam, one task after another and it never ends.
That’s a perfect recipe for burnout.
A Lack of Organization
All those tasks, projects, and teams need to be organized. And given just how many moving parts a single project can have, without proper organization, what could be a well-oiled machine quickly stumbles and falls apart.
When a lack of organization is the norm for your teams, very little can get done. To make it more difficult, a solid organization cannot be handled by a single manager with a clipboard or spreadsheet. Your teams need the proper tools to keep them moving forward. Those tools could be Kanban or Scrum (or some hybrid tool). No matter which route you take, you must consider organization an absolute must.
With each passing quarter, everything gets more complex. From technology, projects, demand, supply chains, pipelines, and team management, there’s never an escape from growing complexity.
This complexity is fueled by an almost ridiculous amount of competition between businesses. With more and more companies emerging, the fight to gain the attention of consumers, customers, and clients grow more and more complicated.
So it’s not just technology that’s more difficult, it’s how technology is used. You have artificial intelligence working with big data to help make business decisions and predict trends. You have containers and Kubernetes to deploy and orchestrate application availability and scaling. There are DevOps, AIOps, DevSecOps, IaaS, SaaS, and hybrid clouds. All of this makes for a very challenging landscape for developers to work with.
Look no further than CI/CD to see just how challenging the role of the developer has become. CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, which has the goal of becoming more efficient and reliable than anyone developer (or team of developers) can be.
CI/CD employs several very complex technologies to bring about automation in the building, testing, and deployment of applications. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is. It’s also incredibly challenging to get up and running. Once you have CI/CD in place, things will go rather smoothly, but it also means your developers are in a constant state of updating the code stored in the CI/CD repository.
CI/CD isn’t the only area where automation has become crucial for businesses. There’s hardly an area that automation hasn’t touched in enterprise companies. This automation is not only a challenge to get right, it also has to be carefully monitored to ensure that it’s performing as expected. All the while, your developers are probably having to improve how the automation works and add new features as needed.
And automation requires the heavy use of algorithms and any number of back-end technologies which can make any project exponentially more efficient as well as complicated.
The Threat of Downtime
Downtime. Two syllables that instill fear in anyone in IT. And developers aren’t immune to this ever-present threat, as they are responsible for creating reliable applications and services. The looming presence of downtime is a huge challenge because when things go down, business comes to a halt.
And when downtime happens, fingers of blame get pointed. Inevitably, those fingers will be directed at developers. This leads to enormous pressure to deliver applications and services that don’t go down. The enormity of such a challenge cannot be overstated.
Shiny New Technology
There’s always some shiny new technology those at the top of the food chain want to try. A CEO might have heard of some new piece of technology from another CEO and wants to immediately implement it. The responsibility for this doesn’t just fall on the operations staff but also the developers.
Sometimes that shiny new piece of technology is very easy to integrate and sometimes the challenges of making it work can be insurmountable. And yet, the CEO wants it to happen.
Your developers are under constant pressure to deliver. The challenges they face should never be taken lightly, especially if you want them working at their highest possible productivity levels. When you find those developers are struggling against a wall of challenges, make sure to give them the help they need, so you can avoid a burned-out team heading for the door.