Developers come; developers go… (how to) deal with it.

June 2, 2020

According to LinkedIn technology (software) has a higher overall turnover rate than retail.  With that, it isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when.  Volano has engineered a culture of “by developers, for developers” and this helps our retention.  In fact, most of the folks that work at Volano have been here +5 years but let’s face it – some of the staff will not retire from Volano.  If you manage developers, it is incumbent on you to build processes to contend with turnover.

Here are 3 best practices that we work hard to observe:

  1. Cross-train.  Strive to have more than one developer familiar with each project.
  2. Have (the right) documentation.  Typically, developers won’t read documentation – but they must know where the source code lives, how to modify it, and how to release it…without breaking things.  We call this domain documentation.  It must be up to date or the lead developer cannot leave for vacation or become ill ?
  3. Consistency.  Strive to be consistent in all aspects of the software development lifecycle.  Things like: Have one code repository.  Manage domain documentation in one place and in a predictable format.  Don’t use every new pattern and framework that becomes available.  Have a base project that new projects are built from to ensure a consistent structure between code bases.

Bonus tip – don’t overlook the value of documented processes.  These are the guardrails to keep people and projects moving forward in a repeatable and successful way.

These points seem like common sense, and as with most things, it is easier said than done.