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InfoQ Homepage News How Developer Enablement Brings Benefits to Software Organizations

How Developer Enablement Brings Benefits to Software Organizations

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Developer enablement is about tools and approaches that can greatly increase the potential we can have as individuals. It can have an impact on productivity and happiness, on profits and retention. Developer tools make it easier for engineers to deploy products, enabling them to focus on building a product.

QCon London 2022 hosted a track on developer enablement. Stuart Davidson, director at Skyscanner, spoke about enabling developers.

Davidson referred to force multiplication by the Defense Technical Information Center (dtic.mil), which describes it as a factor or a combination of factors that gives personnel or weapons (or other hardware) the ability to accomplish greater feats than without it

He turned force multiplication into his definition of developer enablement:

"A capability that, when added to and employed by a team, significantly increase the potential of that team and thus enhances the probability of success."

Davidson mentioned that enablement is where you empower others to do work that they need to do. It doesn’t do the work for them. Enablement increases the potential of others. When you find out that you are a strategic roadblock, then there’s the potential to become a strategic enabler, Davidson said.

The flow of the team is an excellent measure of when you are enabling the team, Davidson said. The better the enablement, the higher the ratio of enablement investment against the improvement of the engineering teams they serve.

Enabling the enablers can also have an impact, Davidson mentioned. For instance, platform teams can enable themselves by applying ideas and using the tools that they provide to other teams themselves.

Davidson said that enablement is not necessarily giving full autonomy. Autonomy comes within constraints and with guardrails.

Enablement is not necessarily technology, Davidson mentioned. Teamwork and adhering to open standards can be a force multiplier for development organizations, such as Kubernetes and OpenTelemetry.

Suhail Patel, staff engineer at Monzo, spoke about building tools for developer experience at QCon London 2022.

The developer tools at Monzo help encode and automate their organizational processes. Patel mentioned that Monzo decided to create their own chat system, enabling them to innovate and better serve their customers. The chat system soon became a centralized company hub for more back-office functions across the company.

For engineers, Monzo operates tools like a CLI to access backend services and interact with the backend components (such as setting dynamic configuration). This makes it easier to use the services and build functionality on top of it, Patel said.

With the developer tools, engineers can focus on building a product and don’t need to worry about the complexities of deploying it. This makes it possible to try things out at a much higher velocity, Patel concluded. Tools can provide a delightful experience for developers.

There will be a track on developer enablement at the upcoming QCon Plus May 10-20, 2022 conference.

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