Six Developer Experience Killers Every Engineering Manager Should Avoid


This was originally a Twitter thread. I’ve edited it a bit for style and format to make it a bit more friendly as a blog post.

I asked my Twitter following to share with me via DM their biggest frustrations with their day-to-day developer experience. I committed to report back with a summary of everyone’s responses. Well, here’s my report!

Some of their answers weren’t a surprise. But not all of them!

Here are 6 developer experience killers that every engineering manager should avoid:

Can’t you just…?

I can’t think of a worse way to invalidate a developer’s expertise.

You don’t always have to like the answer a developer gives you, but this kind of response indicates a lack of trust in one’s ability to generate, evaluate, and eliminate options.

Here’s your repurposed 5th gen Core i3 with 8 GB RAM. Enjoy!

Going the cheap route with developer hardware is a quick and easy way to make everything else more expensive.

If you don’t want folks sitting around waiting, invest in quality hardware and software tools.

Let’s play two truths and a lie!

Starting every meeting with an icebreaker is a great way to lose an otherwise productive team.

While facilitation techniques can be great, especially with a new team building trust, using them inappropriately can destroy focus.

So where does the fizzbuzz service live again?

Would you rather developers ship code or quest for lost servers?

I think I know the answer to that question. Foremost, champion discoverability in your environment. Failing that, take on these tasks so developers can focus.

You estimated task X would take 2 days, but JIRA says it took…

Do you want predictable velocity? Nitpicking developer estimates won’t get it.

Software development almost always comes with uncertainty. We’re creating something new, not assembling widgets on an assembly line.

File those 50 tickets tomorrow so you can finish within the sprint!

Tight coupling between systems forces developers to spend time coordinating rather than creating.

Maximize the work your team can accomplish in isolation by enforcing clear boundaries and interfaces.