How to strengthen your dev team with insights on social coding

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If you’re a lead developer, you probably have a good idea who are your strongest coders and who’s great at debugging. You may even have a feeling about who’d be a potentially strong mentor for those new to your team. But you don’t have to rely on intuition, because there’s already lots of key social cues buried in your code repository. With the new DevOps Insights from Bluemix, you’ll see how your team interacts based on real data, not guesswork.

Insight into the dynamics of team interactions

In the excerpted diagrams below, each developer on your team is represented as a node on this graph. The size of the node is the amount of code that developer has changed through social coding. The pie chart within the node captures the types of interactions that developer has had with other developers. The blue represents the proportion of social coding interactions editing other team member’s work and the red represents the proportion of their contributions edited by other team members. The layout of the graph indicate who you most central developers are; developers on the outside will usually be new team members and as they contribute they will become more central.

Based on this graph, your team can recognize an imbalance in responsibilities, encourage developer knowledge sharing, and facilitate more meaningful team retrospectives. Consider the two extremes depicted below:

Two example social insight diagrams, shown side-by-side for easier comparison

The left diagram depicts a team with equitable distribution of contributions. In sharp contrast, the right diagram depicts an imbalanced team where one person, Zoe, is modifying or contributing the bulk of the code. If Zoe moves to another project, it will leave a huge hole in this project. If you were the lead of this team, you would be wise to take steps to transform the team dynamic so its social coding graph looks more like the previous team, which is well connected.

In the video below, I offer some suggestions on how a team lead can identify imbalances like those above and take steps to correct them.

For more details, see my blog post How to strengthen your development team with IBM DevOps Insights.

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