5+ Quick Best Practices for Increasing Software Developer Productivity

Post by
Andrew Pierno
5+ Quick Best Practices for Increasing Software Developer Productivity

Let's face it, to stay successful in a competitive market, your development team needs to keep innovating and implementing new features. More importantly, they need to do it fast.

Unfortunately, with everything on your devs’ plates, this isn’t always possible. They’ll need your help. So today, we’ll show you the best practices for increasing software developer productivity

Give Your Developers the Right Tools

One of the best ways to improve productivity is by equipping your developers with the proper tooling.

But how do you know what tools your team needs? (Especially if they’re so badly burned out that not even they know what they need.)

You'll have to research your team's needs, requirements, and tools. At the very least, your team will need a messaging tool, an effective IDE, and a task management tool.

Depending on their tasks, they may also need competitor tracking tools or screenshot APIs.

a sketch explaining the pomodoro technique
Source: Sketchplanations

Some developers who struggle with distractions also recommend using Pomodoro technique tools that keep them focused for 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks. 

Discuss it with your team and see if it fits their work styles!

Minimize Distractions

When it comes to productivity and efficiency, the right tools will only get your team so far. You'll also need to ensure that your team stays focused and concentrates on the task at hand

An effective strategy is to create a distraction-free environment for your team. Your developers deliver their best work when they're not distracted.

What a distraction-free environment means for your team is personal to your specific circumstances. For example: 

  • You might decide that your team should not be interrupted during certain times of the day.
  • You could also ensure that you minimize unnecessary noise in their work environment and block any distracting sites and apps. 
  • Maybe you’ll implement flexible work schedules and remote working to ensure your team is working during their peak productivity hours (as opposed to standard, company-wide work hours).
  • You could do stand-ups asynchronously, as opposed to hopping on a Zoom call.

Be Mindful of the Slack Notification Fatigue

If you already work remotely, your devs don’t need to hear their colleagues to be distracted by them. Notifications can interrupt their flow time, too, so instruct them to set up a custom notification schedule and use the Do-Not-Disturb status liberally.

As the folks at StackOverflow say:

“As developers, we’re right to be wary of distractions that can bring our beautiful flow state to a screeching halt.”

Avoid Multitasking to Increase Your Software Development Productivity

By now, you know that your developers won't spend all their time writing code. Unfortunately, they have plenty of other things on their plates, from attending meetings to answering emails and performing redundant administrative tasks. The problem is that, as these things pile up, they'll end up spending less time on what they do best – developing software.

If you'd like your team to be as productive as possible, you'll need to eliminate extra tasks from their schedule and avoid multitasking. If they constantly switch tabs, they could lose as much as 40% of their regular productivity.

Fortunately, this is quite simple to achieve. For example, you can do your scheduling around these tasks. 

In other words, you'll set aside blocks of time for development and certain times for these tasks. As the developers from 7Pace say:

“[Timeblocking.] It’s like a firewall for my time.”

Also, with some planning, you'll be able to reduce unnecessary meetings and other friction that prevent your team from performing at their best.

Work in Sprints

Unfortunately, it's simply not possible for your developers to focus on a specific task indefinitely, especially when working on a complex codebase. 

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can increase their focus. For instance, you can let your team work in sprints

During these sprints, they will work on a specific product feature. This allows your team to break up their work into smaller segments, making it easier to focus and troubleshoot. 

Illustration showing how to work in sprints
Source: Wrike

Another option is to consider using focus sessions

During these sessions, which can range from 30 minutes to two hours or even longer, your developers will work uninterrupted. As such, they won't check email, social media, or have conversations, and they'll focus entirely on writing code. 

Once they complete a session, they'll take a break and repeat.

Reuse Code

Encourage your team to write reusable code. For example, they can write reusable classes or components they can use throughout an entire application. 

When they write reusable code, it only needs to be tested once, and it will be less error-prone. Combined, this allows your team to save a ton of time. 

Another effective strategy is to use code snippets. You can find these online, built into IDEs, or even create your own. With them, writing code is as simple as pressing a shortcut key.

Increasing Software Developer Productivity Starts by Automating Away Busywork

While reusing code and code snippets can help your team speed up their development work, you can take it a step further with automation. 

In fact, automation could be one of the most powerful tools you can use to make your team more productive and efficient. The more you can automate, the more time you'll save. 

(Another bonus is that automation typically reduces human error.)

But now the question is: What should you automate to increase software developer productivity? 

You can automate everything from manual, repetitive IT tasks like data entry to more advanced tasks like data processing and analysis. 

Some examples of automation include scripts to: 

  • Run tests automatically
  • Transform images and files
  • Create backups

You can also use tools like ScreenshotAPI to automatically take programmatic screenshots that help you monitor user behavior, website compliance, and more. It’s invaluable (and you can try it for free).

Help Your Devs Help You

We’d be nowhere without our awesome developers, but sometimes, they need our help. Start by looking at the bottlenecks in their daily routines. Automate away everything that doesn’t require their specific attention.

Then, keep going. Try new methods of organizing your work as a team and collaborating with others.

Soon enough, you’ll get a productive team that can’t wait to shape the future!