Today, we’re going to tell you a (very brief) story about software development:
In its earliest stages, the life of a new feature begins in the hands of content and design teams. Once those folks are satisfied with their work, the young feature gets handed off to the engineering team: the very people who bring the feature to life, giving it wings so it can fly into production.
That time in the nest — when engineers help prepare the feature to go out into the world — is crucial. And yet, it’s too often underappreciated and overlooked.
By now, it’s dawning on you: This story isn’t about a young feature. It’s about engineers — the work they do and the sht they deal with. In this article, we’ll go over a day in the life of an engineer, reasons why they get burnt out, and how you can help.
Working with a full plate is an engineer’s everyday
Engineers have a tough gig — they’re expected to work quickly and answer our every beck and call. Even (Especially?) when their work is exceptional, working to satisfy all of their stakeholders can easily lead to burnout. Some stakeholders can include:
- designers (brand or product)
- leadership or clients (CEOs, CTOs, PMs)
- marketers (copywriters, editors, social media managers)
An engineer’s responsibilities are complex, and most of the time, very full — from creating readable code to being the first line of defense when something goes wrong. Aside from being code wizards, engineers are constantly juggling their work with meetings, conversations about next steps, their personal life, learning about how they work, reprioritizing the scope — and so much more.
You guessed it — engineers get burnt out, too
Burnout is directly correlated with a toxic work environment — leading to miscommunication, perfectionism, and lack of clarity. Here are a few pain points that engineers go through ⤵️
Lack of communication. We all hear that communication is key, but how many teams are in the habit of reflecting on how they’re communicating?
Absence of leadership and cross collaboration. Working solo is never the solution, yet working with leaders or cross-functional teams that don’t understand engineering work can be challenging.
Lack of processes set in place. Without clear processes, engineers end up riffing on the best way to solve a particular problem (for… forever 🙃). Without proper processes, tickets get left unresolved.
Some of these points overlap with a toxic work environment. To learn more about toxic work environments and how to solve the root of burnout, check out our blog post to learn more.
My engineering team is showing signs of burnout. How can I prevent/resolve it?
Burnout looks different for everybody, but with the proper measures in place, you can help your coworkers through it — or prevent it entirely. Here are some ways Murmur can help your team ⤵️
Stay transparent with your team. Give your team the space to voice their opinions about processes, agreements, and everything under the sun. Keep tabs on how everyone operates, and you’ll find that everyone works differently. Present solutions and experiment with your ways of working so everyone’s needs are met. Learn more about Murmur’s “safe to try” practice.
Set the foundation for processes. There are so many processes for an engineer’s workflow (ex. reviewing code, defining priorities, bug squashes, etc). When you collaborate with your team to solidify how these processes are tackled, you’ll all have more time to relax and work on important tasks that’ll make an impact.
Revisit agreements, revisit processes, and change them accordingly. A lot can change within a quarter! Schedule time with your team to revisit the agreements and processes you’ve set together to get a pulse check on if they’re still relevant and helpful. If not, collaborate with your team to come up with a new set of processes to help everyone grow 🌱 Learn more about living agreements and how your team can get involved with setting your organization for success.