Why Adopting CI/CD Will Improve Your Team’s Job Satisfaction
In any field, professionals just want to do their job well to deliver results and impact. Usually, that satisfaction comes from the knowledge that goals are achieved, and problems are solved.
Every industry has its own challenges and ways of measuring whether a job is being done as well as it possibly can be. Within a DevOps culture, the challenge is to shorten the development life cycle while delivering the required quality software by following an iterative process.
While it may be possible to accomplish that in different ways, one of the best ways is by adopting Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices.
At this point, most people in software know the benefits of CI/CD, but I suspect not everyone understands the intangible benefits. The tangible benefits of quality, speed, and collaboration have been widely discussed and documented on the web. I have not found, however, a lot of material on how CI/CD benefits the organization from the ground up.
Of course, CI/CD is about providing regular checks, detecting errors, and releasing quality code. But it’s also about improving the health of your entire organization and increasing employee/developer satisfaction.
Here’s what happens when you adopt this practice:
CI shortens the life cycle of bugs, giving developers more time for strategic projects.
That’s longer than most of us like to wait before fixing a problem in our code. And unfortunately, those mistakes sometimes make it all the way down the chain before they’re sent back to the developers to solve. The is problematic because it’s often difficult for developers to keep track of something they did a week or two ago. Suddenly, they’re expected to stop what they’re doing and revisit work that’s not fresh in their mind.
A developer should be able to input their code into the system and learn whether they checked in bad code within 24 hours or sooner. This ability is exactly what you get when you adopt continuous integration practices. Overnight, a functioning system performs or runs tests to ensure accuracy so when something fails, it’s almost always evident by the following day—not the following week.
If you give your IT team the ability to immediately figure out when something is wrong with the code, they’ll learn to make fewer mistakes. And, crucially, they’ll have to spend less time fixing those mistakes.
Less time spent editing code means there’s more time available for working on the strategic projects that are essential to your company’s success.
Developers gain more confidence and coding discipline.
Just as writers use style guides to keep their work uniform, developers also have parameters that describe the best way to write code.
Ideally, once a developer writes a piece of code, he or she will describe it in detail so that the next person who looks at the code will understand how to work with or around the method. In practice, this doesn’t happen very often. Developers hate documentation. Any developer worth their salt will view it as a secondary—and hence, unnecessary—part of the job. I’d say less than half of all developers actually create documentation.
That means you can inevitably expect some resistance to the documentation and processes continuous integration require when you first adopt it. But once your team sees the benefits of following the CI guidelines—documents become much clearer, coding discipline improves, developers gain confidence, and the code gets to end users faster—it will be easier to get everyone on board.
Initially, CI practices may seem burdensome, but putting in the documentation work will lead to a healthier organization as coding discipline increases.
As your team develops better processes, your entire company improves.
Unlike other industries, the tech industry is human capital driven and the best way to accelerate is to improve the human capital. Companies spend a lot of time and money on planning perks, benefits and systems to ensure higher retention, hiring, and improving the morale and satisfaction of their employees.
Advantages of implementing/adopting CI/CD processes is that benefits are not strictly technical. Yes, the code gets to end users faster and bugs are caught much earlier. But those technical aspects will actually boost team morale and increase your developer’s satisfaction as well.
When a developer knows that the CI/CD system will kick back issues the next morning, they gain confidence. They know their work will go live faster. They know they are creating and not maintaining code, meaning they won’t have to backtrack and work on the same code they were working on two weeks ago when a bug is finally caught. And they know they won’t have to burn the midnight oil on a Friday evening before the software is deployed.
This increased satisfaction has a cumulative effect. A happy team makes recruitment much easier, which in turn improves the talent on the team. As you gain more talented individuals, the overall health of your company improves. Management spends less time worrying about morale and improving coding discipline because the CI system itself is helping to build better code and a happier organization.
No other perks can replace this sense of employee contentment, (otherwise, ALL the high-flying and heavily-funded startups would have succeeded). Of course, perks help, but job satisfaction for a professional is the visible proof that he is contributing value to his organization. A software developers’ true satisfaction is to solve a problem and validate that their piece of code reaches the customer/user quickly and the customer/user is using the feature that was developed, with ease
The tangible benefits (of this intangible value) are satisfied employees, greater retention, and improved bottom-line.
All that leads to increased job satisfaction among the professionals on your team, which is the holistic aspect of continuous integration adoption that is rarely talked about. But it’s arguably just as important as the technical implementation when it comes to the health and happiness of your company.
Vishnu Datla is founder and CEO of AutoRABIT. You can follow Vishnu on twitter @vishnuraju