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One Action to Boost Software Engineering Productivity

phone mobile app dev engineers

I’ll admit, the Stripe & Harris Poll survey called The Developer Coefficient resonates with me. By interviewing software engineering leaders and developers worldwide, they have been able to quantify the productivity of software developers.

In today’s world, software engineers are often the production engine for a company.

And this survey found that 42% of software engineering effort is spent (lost?) on tech debt, bad code, and maintenance.

I like to consider that statement in the context of a traditional industry. Imagine you owned a printing press, and the output was only viable 58% of the time. The rest of the output was smeared or smudged, or the machine was offline for maintenance. Or you manufacture air conditioning units, and 42% of the cold air was lost to delivery or mechanical issues.

Obviously, I’m comparing machines to people, but that makes the comparison even more depressing in some cases.

For machines, there’s a capped and finite amount of ‘productivity,’ and there is zero innovation. A combine is going to harvest corn – that’s all.

Yet the software engineers I know are often the most creative and innovative people in the room. We’re potentially stifling true innovation and advancement by saddling them with mundane tasks such as resolving bad code or cleaning up tech debt, or going back to maintain existing systems.

Solving for the 42%

I think we can all agree there’s no way to eliminate the big three drags (tech debt, bad code, and maintenance) on software productivity. But there is a way for companies to mitigate the impact.

Buy off-the-shelf software.

Whoa, Wait! Before your brain jumps to all types of gotchas and issues, be assured that I will share how we address them.

It’s not a particularly novel concept. In any maturing market, value producers move upstream and buy generic or commodity items to focus on the higher value. Carmakers don’t make seats.

Granted, there are a lot of plugins and code snippets on the web. But in the car/seat example, that’s like an engineer from Ford watching a YouTube video on building a seat. He still needs to build four seats. Much faster to buy them and move on.

But for software, particularly in app dev, there really haven’t been COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) software objects. Yet this is exactly what the Onymos provides – a suite of full-stack Features for app dev. Onymos keeps all its Features current, not just with the maintenance items but with functionality.

Plus, the average Onymos Feature has ~ 1,000 hours of software engineering behind it. It makes the build-vs-buy decision pretty easy.

So, while buying Onymos Features for your project won’t deliver a full 42% boost in productivity, it will certainly minimize the time and effort to support the app’s foundational elements.


Think differently about app development

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