Amazon is trying to build a better culture for its software development teams—and developers everywhere can take a few lessons from the effort.
An internal team, dubbed “Amazon Software Builder Experience,” is reportedly tasked with curbing the frustration among the company’s engineers over “repetitive and mundane” work, according to Business Insider, which obtained documents and slides detailing the team’s work. Its tasks include figuring out how to automate more internal developer processes, building better developer tools, and creating improved tutorials for the company’s development.
“Our initial focus will be on some of the foundational pain points that we have been hearing from you, including how you manage and deploy code on a daily basis, the usability of your operational tools, and the campaigns that get asked of you from around the company,” states one of those documents.
In addition, the team has six guiding principles:
- Software builders across Amazon require consistent, interoperable, and extensible tools to construct and operate applications at our peculiar scale; organizations will extend on our solutions for their specialized business needs.
- Amazon’s customers benefit when software builders spend time on novel innovation. Undifferentiated work elimination, automation, and integrated opinionated tooling reserve human interaction for high judgment situations.
- Our tools must be available for use even in the worst of times, which happens to be when software builders may most need to use them: we must be available even when others are not.
- Software builder experience is the summation of tools, processes, and technology owned throughout the company, relentlessly improved through the use of well-understood metrics, actionable insights, and knowledge sharing.
- Amazon’s industry-leading technology and access to top experts in many fields provides opportunities for builders to learn and grow at a rate unparalleled in the industry.
- As builders we are in a unique position to codify Amazon’s values into the technical foundations; we foster a culture of belonging by ensuring our tools, training, and events are inclusive and accessible by design.
Granted, most developers don’t work for companies of Amazon’s size, but it’s nonetheless helpful for technologists (and their managers) to take the occasional step back and evaluate whether their current ways of doing things are actually working. Can additional automation free up time for more creative thinking and product development? How can teams improve their use of tools and platforms?
For managers, listening is especially key—if developers are complaining about getting bogged down in processes, or if they dislike some aspect of the company’s tech stack, addressing those issues sooner rather than later could spare everyone a lot of long-term pain.