The Tug Of War Over Front-End Development Ownership
Front-end developers are getting the short end of the stick: they're either considered not technical enough to be a developer or too technical to be considered a designer/engineer. This conflict resonates further into the organization and stakeholders aren't in agreement on where front-end developers should sit—with the BT organization or within the business. Both sides make compelling arguments as to why front-end devs should sit within their respective parts of the organization. Our recent developer survey tells us that 47% of developers sit within a single centralized BT organization.
The main reasons BT organization argues three reasons front-end developers should sit within BT:
- To make sure that development standards are consistent.
- It ensures that they work in sync with the back-end team.
- Front-end devs work with code and BT should have ownership of anything related to code.
On the other hand, marketing argues that front-end developers (also referred to as designers/web developers) are better suited for marketing since:
- Front-end devs can create rapid prototypes for customers to see their ideas conceptualized, but it’s not intended to be production-ready at all.
- BT organization moves too slowly and is unable to deliver the changes needed to enhance the customer journey at the speed it requires.
So who is right?
My colleague Anjali Yakkundi and I are in the process of diving deeper into this, speaking with organizations on where the front-end fits within the software development cycle. As one interviewee put it, “It depends on what you’re building. If it’s short-lived sites I can see [front-end work] going outside development. If you’re building something more functionality that needs to live longer, the team needs an engineering mindset.”
One thing our interviewees have made clear: regardless of where your front-end developers sit, they will only prove successful if you’ve created some structure to how both groups work together while making sure to not fragmenting the customer journey. We’d love to hear how front-end developers fit in your organization, so feel free to leave a comment.