Why Developers Need Full-Stack Observability
Developer burnout and application issues are rising, but there are key practices that organizations can implement to set their developers up for success.
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In 2021, applications are now the entryways most businesses use to connect to customers, and while this accelerated with the pandemic, it began long ago and will continue into the future. Seamless performance for these applications can mean the difference between gaining a loyal customer or losing trust. The threat of developer burnout, and application issues, are both very real and there are a few key practices that organizations can implement to support developers and set their teams up for success.
Recognize Pressure Is Real and It’s Not Slowing Down
With the growing reliance on digital and cloud-native applications, developers and technologists are feeling the pressure. That’s naturally going to come back on the business.
A mistake or unaddressed anomaly at the application layer can lead to security and performance issues down the line, and with increasing investment in applications and IT, the pressure is likely to increase. For example, a recent report from Immersive Labs found 81% of developers have knowingly released vulnerable applications largely due to a lack of resources and time to effectively incorporate security into applications. This indicates a disconnect from leadership and a lack of a “culture of ownership around security,” which is imperative for businesses today.
In addition, Gartner recently predicted IT spending is on track to reach $4.1 trillion worldwide in 2021, shifting the role of technologists from the back-end to the front of the business. This means developers will have even more pressure to excel at creating applications that are secure and functional, with little room for error or issues.
Make It About the Business
Since the pressure shows no signs of letting up, how can leaders support developers? It starts with a cohesive BizDevSecOps approach, followed by a focus on full-stack observability and alignment with business goals. This combination can protect not just your brand, but developers as well.
At AppDynamics, we found in a recent report that 75% of technologists say their organization needs to connect full-stack observability to business outcomes within 12 months in order to remain competitive, and 92% see the ability to link technology performance to business outcomes such as customer experience, sales transactions, and revenue, as most important to delivering on innovation goals over the next year. The development process needs to have established business goals first so that all the stakeholders can align throughout the overall efforts having a common target.
For developers, full-stack observability offers several key aspects of support as they create applications. It puts in place a framework for understanding the business context around errors and anomalies, which can span across the network, infrastructure, or application code regardless of where it is located. This in turn provides greater value for quick remediation. Rather than just creating a log of what is wrong, full-stack observability allows developers to answer questions around why and how something goes wrong as well as who is impacted while pinpointing what needs to be done to fix it. If a full-stack observability approach is already in place, you have set the stage for continuous improvement that developers can then use to create better applications.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
When issues do arise, the inclination of pointing fingers and blaming other teams or individuals must stop. To fully support and encourage developers, you can’t put the full responsibility of an application’s success on their shoulders.
Success is part of a greater team effort that spans the application’s development, the business strategy behind it, bringing it to users, the network infrastructure, the incorporated security elements, and, ultimately, how all these elements combine. Even if a coding error leads to a bug, at the end of the day, an application’s success hinges on teams working together. Rather than playing the blame game, instead adopt an approach that allows you to quickly identify, remediate, and protect your applications. When all the teams align with a clear understanding of how the business and user experience are affected, it becomes easier to align and focus on the most important results.
By shifting the focus from individual mistakes to making developers feel like part of a team that’s connected to a greater business objective, you can create avenues for efficient alignment and ultimately have fewer problems.
Take Steps Toward Better Communication
Full-stack observability by definition extends across the full stack, all the way from the application to the network and everything in between. There’s no room for siloed communication; to operate within a full-stack observability framework is to communicate, collaborate, and ultimately succeed.
Take stock of your organization's current approach and find where you can break down silos. Can certain teams be communicating better? What barriers exist in that communication? By first breaking these down and setting everyone on a level playing field, you can open the door for efficient collaboration in addressing other issues down the line.
If managers and business leaders take these strategies to heart and open doors between IT and developer teams, the entire organization benefits. By listening to developers, implementing a full-stack observability approach, weaving into of business context, and opening doors for better communications, organizations can begin to see real, meaningful change.
After all, in order to succeed changing the way technology teams work with the business is no longer a nice to have, it's a must. It can simply mean the difference between growing the business versus facing extinction.
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