The current trend in the market is doing more with fewer devs, Twitter being the biggest example in the news. Small-mid sized companies that have already been operating with this mindset will have a massive advantage over competitors who have to figure out how to shift their internal operations to support more efficient dev teams.

When faced with this challenge, the immediate reaction might be:

  1. We need to do more with the team we have, so let’s push developers to close more tickets.
  2. We need to improve our efficiency metrics, so let’s set benchmarks for each developer/team.
  3. We need managers to get closer to their reports and make sure that they are working effectively and putting in enough effort.

However, teams that are already successful at this mindset look at these 3 things differently:

  1. Instead of pushing through more tickets, figure out what you don’t have to do and don’t do it. Solve real problems that have the highest impact for the business. Avoid “playing startup” and creating problems that don’t have to exist.
  2. Instead of putting the cart before the horse with metrics, listen to your devs in order to find the true root cause of bottlenecks. Improvement anywhere but the bottleneck is at best a waste of time, and at worse damaging to the system as a whole. A good tool for this is DX to help identify and progress on key drivers.
  3. Get out of the way. If you want devs to step up, you need to give them the space to do it. This is an exercise in coaching, not micromanagement. Create alignment, distribute decision making, and your team will be much more capable with the same headcount.

The overall theme is not to let bad habits creep in under pressure, but maintain composure and a positive mindset, and your team will succeed.