Improve Developer Productivity Using Containers: The Two-Part Strategy

  • Posted On: 26th April 2018
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Improve Developer Productivity Using Containers: The Two-Part Strategy

Your technical staff is drowning in low-value administrative work.

Every day, we see IT professionals spending time on manual tasks. For some departments, it is reviewing server configurations. Alternatively, it might be checking how operating systems are configured. These tasks do add value and improve quality. However, they do not represent the best use of developer time. At their best, developers can automate tasks, ship new features and create efficiencies. However, they cannot achieve those goals if they are distracted by low-value activities.

The Twin Killers of Developer Productivity in 2018: Low-Value Tasks and Neglecting Innovation

There are two trends that undermine the productivity of your developers. Number one: CIOs and other managers force their developers to do low-value tasks. To be fair, sometimes developers take on these tasks on their own without management involvement. That is still a problem because they are missing out on higher value opportunities.

Number two: your organization’s IT innovation agenda is suffering. Every CIO we talk with has a dream list of technology projects. These might including launching a new app, upgrading the CRM, or finally decommissioning the data center and moving to the cloud. All of these projects would add tremendous value to the organization. However, there is just not enough technical capacity to provide the advice and support needed to make them happen.

Hiring more staff and consultants is one way to solve the burden. However, you may have a limited budget to make additional hires. In the meantime, what else can IT managers do to boost developer productivity? We recommend using the following two-part strategy: identify productivity blocks and then implement systems to boost productivity.

Part 1: Identify Productivity Blocks for Your Developers

As a technology manager, you have the responsibility to see the big picture. What are barriers keeping your developers back regarding productivity? Use the following checklist to detect the most common productivity killers.

  • Manual processes. How much time do your developers spend on manual technology processes? A prime example: setting up servers, test environments and other prep work that must be done before they can get down to coding. These prep work tasks cannot be skipped, but no developer looks forward to them. It is like asking a chef to prepare an outstanding meal without sharp knives or a sous-chef to assist them.
  • Ineffective priorities. If your developers focus all of their time on fixing minor bugs, would you consider that to be productive? What if they neglected solving a high-risk security issue that week? That is an example of poor priorities. The best IT managers regularly sit with their developers to review what they are working on to make sure it is a high priority.
  • Poor project management. IT projects have a reputation for running over budget and schedule. If this is happening to your developers, their productivity will suffer because they will not be able to plan effectively. Project problems also occur if your developers are pulled in too many different directions at once. If you do not have a PMP certified project manager in your organization already, make it a priority to hire one to improve your project efficiency.
  • Not enough developer growth opportunities. Your developers may be disengaged at work and feel little motivation to contribute new ideas. As a manager, you cannot solve this problem entirely. That said, ask yourself: are you providing growth opportunities? Do you have career management conversations with your developers?

Once you understand the barriers to developer productivity, you can make changes. Let’s focus our efforts on technology improvements you can make.

Part 2: Implement Tools To Accelerate Developer Productivity

Based on the above analysis, it is time to put some tools in place. Let’s focus on containers and containerization as a productivity opportunity.

  • Reduce operating system administration. By using containerization, your servers only need to have one operating system. You then run multiple containers on top of that operating system. From a testing and development standpoint, that means fewer errors due to inconsistent operating systems.
  • Maintain container security. As you change your systems to implement containers, you must keep security matters in place. Rather than manually taking charge of this responsibility, use an automated solution. Avatier’s Identity Anywhere is an excellent solution. You can quickly spin up new identity management servers and fulfill audit requirements as you expand.
  • Save company resources on hardware and software. By using containers, you can cut down your IT bill on hardware and software because you do not have to run multiple operating systems.
  • Increase developer training and growth opportunities. Take the time and money you save with containers and use it to equip your developers with more skills. For example, giving your developers $1000 or $2000 each to attend a DevOps conference may bring you new ideas and more engaged employees. Indirectly, adopting containerization will boost your developer retention.

 

Other Ways To Improve IT Productivity

Once you maximize the productivity benefits of using containers, how else can you improve IT and developer productivity?

  • Get more technology projects funded. Improving productivity in the long term sometimes requires spending money on new systems today. For example, learning how to get an SSO project funded with a business case will give you transferable skills for other IT projects.
  • Save time with SSO Software. As we explain in 5 Ways To Save Time With SSO Software, single sign-on software saves time on password administration. If you need more capacity in your cybersecurity team to work on new projects, consider adding SSO to your organization.
  • Reduce security incidents by using multi-factor authentication. Instead of continually fielding password requests, use MFA. Putting this technology in place does not have to be overwhelming. You will be in good company. Find out more about how to implement multi-factor authentication.

 

Balancing Innovation and Security With Containers

It is clear that your organization’s developers can become much productive by adopting containers. As you pursue those gains, remember to protect your downside. To minimize container security risk, use Avatier’s Identity Anywhere.

Written by Avatier