We fielded Forrester’s Q1 2024 Developer Experience Survey to learn about developers and their experiences at work. We asked developers, their leaders, vendors, and developer experience advocates to tell us about the developer experience. We wanted to identify where everyone aligned and where opinions differed.

Many organizations lack a strategy to improve developer experience. Without good metrics, leaders often struggle to justify the need for investing in developer experience and don’t think that their organizations prioritize it. There are few dedicated resources to support developers, and instead organizations rely on managers or the developers themselves to improve their working environment.

Leaders Don’t Align On Team Improvements

We asked survey respondents what they thought would improve developer experience most on a team. Developers, vendors, and developer advocates all tended to focus on improved architecture/code health. Code health wasn’t really visible to leaders, who chose automation instead. In contrast, developers and leaders agreed that improvements in organizational processes — particularly with communication and feedback — could improve developer experience.

Developers see TuringBots — generative AI tools for the software development lifecycle — as a way to bypass some of the trivialities of work so that they can dive into interesting problems, but many developers expressed concern about licensing and proof of origin of the generated code. None in our sample expressed concern about code quality.

Developers Don’t Get It — But There’s A Reason

There’s always been a gulf between business leaders and individual developers. It’s hard to blame that on developers alone, though. Management has done a poor job of explaining what’s important and, more importantly, why. Organizational silos and policies prevent clear communication and feedback. Too often, leaders tell developers to focus on short-term goals — an overwhelming number of developers told us that adding new features was a top priority — rather than aligning with business outcomes. Developers want to understand why they do what they do, but their leadership isn’t explaining it in a way developers understand.

Read Developer Experience Is New Territory For Most to learn more about the blind spots of developers, leaders, developer advocates, and developer experience vendors.

(written with Caroline Bonde)