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6 keys to human-centric software development

Dev Interrupted

“Treating devs like human beings” seems like it should be obvious, but if you look at our industry, you might not be able to tell.

We need to stop:

* Measuring devs on lines of code

* Expecting engineers to act like automatons

* Practices that sacrifice developer happiness for short-term delivery

Dev Interrupted spoke with 3 experts in making the transition from churn and burn software development to human-centric development. Here are 6 takeaways from their conversation with Kelly Vaughn, Director of Engineering at Spot AI, Engineering Leadership Coach Lena Reinhard and VP of Engineering at Range, Jean Hsu.

1️⃣ Humanize Interviews

Devs are knowledge workers, not robots. Kelly shared her view on one of the roots of this problem: engineers shouldn’t be required to code as part of the interview process.

2️⃣ API for Humans

People moving into leadership and management roles are not trained to communicate and figure out, “Hey, what’s important to this other human?” Jean recalled one communication workshop where a person shared the takeaway “I feel like I just learned an API for humans.”

3️⃣ Can a Dev Manager Be Non-Technical?

Do developers need to be led by managers with technical skills? From Lena’s experience, many great engineering managers haven’t been superb developers and likely never will.

4️⃣ Bring Your Full Self to Work

One-on-ones don’t need to be a place to give performance advice. Kelly, Lena, and Jean all felt that one-on-ones were a powerful tool for leaders to break through the dehumanizing barriers of software development as a production line.

5️⃣ Metrics

Metrics shouldn’t just track information, they should give people something to look forward to. We all want to be doing work we can be proud of, and we can use metrics to improve productivity without sacrificing developer experience.

6️⃣ Burnout

Another crucial challenge that stops people from doing their best work is burnout.  Acknowledging the elephants in the room is crucial as a leader; everything can’t always be rosy, and your team wants to feel seen in the challenges you share.

Listen to the full conversation here.

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