As a major energy supplier on a path to zero carbon living, OVO Energy is also focused on creating a workplace where its people are able to perform at their best. Within engineering, this has led the company to form a dedicated team focused on providing a great developer experience.
“We hire great developers that come to work everyday with the intention of doing their best work and making things happen,” says Tom Shaw, the leader of Developer Services within OVO’s DevEx team. “But in every company there are processes, inefficiencies, or difficult tools to work with that slow them down. Our team is focused on figuring out what those things are.”
To provide a great developer experience, Shaw’s team first set out to put in place a system for measurement that would allow the team to fully understand the state of engineering. That way the team could be sure they were focused on solving the problems that matter most to developers. The team was aware of DX, and decided to run a proof of concept with the DevEx 360 product alongside a survey they created themselves.
“The difference in response rates was massive, which pretty much made the decision for us,” says Shaw. “In my years of buying software, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from discovering something to a purchase decision as quickly as we did with DX.”
OVO’s DevEx team collects data from DX, then works closely with leadership to make decisions on how to best reduce waste and friction from the developer experience. A key example of this is with the team’s developer portal, which they’ve built using Spotify’s Backstage.
“Anything could be put in a developer portal,” says Shaw. “We could just say ‘here’s what we think people want’ and go and build that. Instead, we use DX to prioritize what actually needs to be put in there.”
The DevEx team has made Product Managers observers within DX, which has affected the organization in two ways: PMs are now more aware of the need for prioritizing developer experience improvements, and the data has started to become more integrated in the communication between teams.
OVO has also focused on distilling DX results into an easily digestible “Voice of Developer” report. Shaw explains that “the report gives everyone a clear picture of the current state of the developer experience.” The report has also recognized individual teams that have driven improvements, which has led to other teams following suit by selecting their own focus areas.
OVO’s DevEx team continues to make progress in their effort to provide developers a place where they can perform at their best.
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