Greater autonomy to define the future of software development: Atlassian survey

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Atlassian Corporation Plc (NASDAQ:TEAM), a leading provider of team collaboration and productivity software and maker of Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket and Trello products, has released its first-ever global State of the developers. Research shows that autonomy wins out with greater autonomy making developers happier at work, despite more frequent context switching and increased task complexity. Developers with more autonomy tend to spend more time coding and are able to work on more products and services.

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The report reveals important trends in how developers’ attitudes and preferences regarding their work have changed over the past year, including the rise of the “You build it, you run it” practice ( YBIYRI). YBIYRI is an increasingly common software development methodology with nearly 60% of teams currently working this way. Teams working in YBIYRI need new and diverse roles, especially as they transition into practice.

A Look at the Indian Developer Ecosystem

Research shows that developer autonomy levels around the world are high, with 50% claiming strong autonomy. Moreover, stronger autonomy is correlated with positive feelings about work, and autonomy is highest in the United States and India (57% and 56% respectively) and lowest in Germany ( 29%).

It has been observed that tool proliferation may be the worst in India, with 78% of developers saying they use more than six tools. In the United States, this number is 72% while only half of developers in Germany (50%) use more than six tools.

What should leaders consider when building and managing development teams?

Developer autonomy trumps everything – Research shows that greater autonomy makes developers happier at work. Additionally, developers with more autonomy tend to spend more time coding and are able to work on more products and services. Autonomy levels are highest for developers who have been in their role for 6-10 years, in large companies (250-1000 employees) and in teams running YBIYRI.

Developers take more responsibility The rise of YBIYRI as a practice has seen development teams do more to support the code they work with. Research shows that almost 60% of developers now work this way, with more agreeing that they should be responsible for more of the software product lifecycle than they are currently (more than 65%). Developers who are close to a product or service have the potential to improve it further if they enjoy a high degree of ownership. Engineering leaders should create more space for development teams to take on YBIYRI responsibilities, ensuring they have the right tools, processes, and rituals to succeed.

Coding or tooling is a matter of preference – Two-thirds of developers (65%) say writing new code is the most valuable skill in their role, while 74% say the ability to read code is essential. Yet 58% of developers don’t think writing code from scratch will be necessary as part of their roles in the future, and 51% say they primarily assemble code written by others. Managers and team leads should let developers hustle these preferences rather than dictating “how things are done here”.

Fewer tools is not always the best result – A majority of developers are using more tools than before (nearly 70%), and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tool flexibility is key. Those with more flexible tools say it simplifies their work, making them happier in their role, while those adopting an increasing number of inflexible tools face the risk of tool proliferation. Nearly half of developers surveyed say they have a stable toolchain (46%). The rest increased the number of tools either with flexible tools (38%) or inflexible tools (16%).

Dinesh Ajmera, Site Manager and Head of Engineering, India, Atlassian said: “Our State of the Developer Report presents important findings on the state of play in the global software developer ecosystem, particularly in the context of India. Among Indian developers, it was particularly encouraging to see that our community of developers compared to other countries enjoyed more autonomy and thus declared themselves to be happier at work.”

“I believe this report presents a range of findings that will help leaders understand the changing dynamics of the developer ecosystem. At Atlassian, we recognize this and believe that by equipping our teams with the right set of tools, technologies, and processes, we will be able to usher in a greater degree of autonomy and boost team effectiveness,” he added again.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach

Greater autonomy is the future of software development. This means more freedom to decide what tools developers use, what they work on, and how that work is done.

Atlassian is committed to providing the tools that facilitate this alignment and autonomy for teams of all sizes. With the recent launch of Compass, a new Atlassian program to create new products in collaboration with customers, developers are now going beyond coding and have the autonomy to connect the tools they want to use.

To learn more about the study and download the report, please visit – Autonomy is the Future of Software Development – Work Life by Atlassian

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