How to Fix Bugs, Raise Team Happiness, and Improve Developer Productivity

DevOps helped dev and operational teams bridge a deep moat between the speed agile dev teams want to deliver releases and the site reliability, performance, and security charted to IT Ops and SREs.

But are applications working better for end-users? Is enabling frequent deployments to quickly address bugs, defects, and errors sufficient to improve software quality? Are developers more productive and happier a decade into CI/CD, IaC, and other DevOps transformations?

Fix Bugs - Raise Happiness - Improve Dev Productivity - Isaac Sacolick

I've been writing about the need to automate more testing, implement continuous testing in CI/CD, and shift-left security as agile development and DevOps best practices. Now I have some data showing how important error monitoring and testing are today.

Testing Impacts Experiences, Productivity, and Happiness

No one wants to release buggy software, but the impact on how organizations manage quality assurance and testing goes beyond software quality.

In the 2021 State of Software Code Report, I found some key data points

  • 88% of respondents say that end-users are the first to report bugs and errors 
  • 37% of developers report spending 25% or more of their time fixing bugs
  • 31% of developers state that fixing bugs is frustrating, and 17% say it leads to burnout 

If you are a CIO, lead application development, or an agile technical lead, I hope you see the bullseye painted by this data. Rarely can you impact end-user experiences PLUS improve developer productivity PLUS address their happiness with one set of transformative improvements.

But it requires a mindset change:

  • Automation, in itself, does not address software quality
  • Developers need better tools and more QA capabilities to improve software quality
  • While testing may reduce bugs, it doesn't enable fixing them faster and easier

Fix Bugs Easier, Faster, and Less Painfully

Going into someone else's code to find and fix defects is one of the worse software development jobs. You face the constant pressure to fix issues quickly and not break things along the way. You're in a grind of fixing other people's code and problems that you didn't create. And the work is so time-consuming that you rarely get the opportunity to work on new features, innovations, and longer-term improvements. 

So what can leaders do to address the gaps?

I rarely find win-win-win situations, and so I hope you are all paying attention!

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