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Want To Be A Tech Pioneer? Don’t Forget The Developer Experience

Behind every website and app you use, there’s a developer. Someone who’s coded the nuts and bolts of your virtual lives to boost your user experience. But have you ever stopped to think about the developer experience?

The phrase “Developer Experience” or DX is thrown around a lot at the moment. Yet, DX is often overlooked by the very companies who claim to be tech pioneers. 

At AND Digital, we have a passion for good DX – that’s one of the reasons we’re one of The Sunday Times top ten companies to work for. Here’s how we do it – and some top tips to help you boost your DX.

Say hello to our ANDis

At AND, our mission is to close the world’s skill gap by accelerating the digital capabilities of ambitious organisations. To do this, we need good developers – and to get them we designed AND around a very special organisational structure.

We call this our Club Model – and it’s focused around promoting a solid DX for our people (known as ANDis). Here’s how it works.

  1. Each ANDi is part of a small team, called a Squad

  2. Six to eight Squads make up a Club. Each Club has no more than 100 ANDis, serving around eight to 12 clients, with its own Clubhouse.

  3. A hardworking, multidisciplinary Tenzing team also supports the work of each Club and development of every ANDi.

Thanks to our Club Model, our developers are part of a community, retaining a network of peers, regardless of how big we get or how fast we grow.

Also, since each Club works with a focused number of clients, our developers have a visible impact with our clients, far faster than it's possible to achieve in larger organisations. 

It’s a pioneering approach and one that’s designed to keep us nimble as a company, while prioritising the DX for our developers and our clients’ developers too.

How to boost your developer experience

Go Agile everywhere

The Agile methodology is a staple of many development teams. For good a DX, you need to embrace this methodology across the board, iterating and improving your applications frequently.

For example, you could create stub or mock services for early adopters to allow them early sight and shorten the feedback loop. Using an agreed, robust versioning strategy means that you can iterate without causing harm to existing consumers. These early insights can save your developers a lot of time and effort, avoiding later reworks.

You also need to put a robust feedback mechanism in place to gauge opinion on your latest releases. That could be something as simple as a Slack channel or a forum. 

Make collaboration seamless

You need a development ecosystem – for everyone. There’s nothing more frustrating than developing when you can’t validate your code. Plus, a lack of robust validation just leads to late integration, bugs and reworks, which are expensive.

To overcome this, you should provide performance data in the form of API dashboards, showing uptime, failure rates and other information to connect the developer with the systems they’re integrating with.

Also, use open standards, common components and provide a coherent environment using service abstraction and prioritising service stability to further boost collaboration across your design and development teams. 

Prioritise API design

APIs are on the rise – helping you provide a seamless and consistent user experience. When you’re designing a new online application, make sure you get user feedback as early as possible. This can help your developers identify alternative uses for your APIs.

Also, don’t forget to provide thorough but lightweight documentation to futureproof your API development.

Need to change your developer experience?

With advancing digitisation, DX will become increasingly important as everyone starts, to a lesser or greater extent, to interact with your code.

A solid DX also establishes you are not just as a tech leader but a pioneer, helping the entire technology industry move forward.

If you want to change your developer experience or find out more about how we operate at AND Digital, email hello@and.digital.