The Road Back from Developer Burnout

The Road Back from Developer Burnout

These developers are speaking from experience. They have each experienced burnout in some form. 

Developer burnout is something that is rarely discussed, but is experienced more often than most technology leaders may realize. It’s not a surprise that developer burnout could be lurking within today’s high-tech teams — not when you consider the stakes. Rapid development schedules. Grueling deadlines. Intense competitive pressures. It’s enough to push even the most patient person to the brink. What can technology leaders do to spot burnout before it derails their teams?

Developers Chris O’Malley, Richard Dancsi and Gwen Faraday join host, Jeff DeVerter, to discuss this challenging topic in this episode of Cloud Talk. These developers are speaking from experience. They have each experienced burnout in some form.

“In 2016, I was an angry developer at a start up,” explains O’Malley. “We were working long hours against unrelenting challenges. Projects were failing and I was getting angrier and angrier. But I held it all in. I didn’t share my feelings. I tried to deal with the frustration by leaving work to relax at home, but the frustrations percolated in every aspect of my life. These were all the classic symptoms of burnout.”

Today, O’Malley is passionate about sharing his experience with others. He hopes to help other developers realize they don’t have to suffer alone.

Listen now to learn more about:

  • Recognize the three patterns of developer burnout — angry, withdrawn and rudderless
  • Realize when it’s smarter to walk away from a job than to continue suffering
  • Within companies, build a culture of recognition and winning together as a team
  • Why managers should schedule regular check ins with developers to see how they’re doing
  • How to define the scope of projects upfront and set boundaries on expectations
  • Respect the value of ensuring employees lead a healthy work-life balance

Recovery from developer burnout is possible. O’Malley’s recovery included a mindset shift and a job change. “As developers, we’re drawn to technology, because we are curious and like to explore. We enjoy diving in deep. We love having a good problem to solve. But I had to learn that I had to ease up and back up now and then. I needed time to decompress from the stress of the job.”

It isn't the developers responsibility to mitigate and prevent developer burnout. “Nine out of 10 times developer burnout is the responsibility of the leadership,” stated DeVerter. “The right plans weren’t put into place. Fire drills occurred for the 50th time. Individuals in the team were not cared for. All of these are the manager’s job to manage.”

“Yes, they have a huge responsibility to recognize that signs and conditions that create burnout,” said O’Malley. “They need to establish processes for addressing it, such as proactively communicating with developers, giving them breaks when they need them, giving clear directions on projects and avoiding the same issues in the future. In the long run, they’ll have happier and healthier team members and achieve better product development.”

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About the Authors

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Rackspace Technology Staff - Solve

The Solve team is made up of a curator team, an editorial team and various technology experts as contributors. The curator team: Srini Koushik, CTO, Rackspace Technology Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technology Evangelist, Rackspace Technology The editorial team:  Gracie LePere, Program Manager Royce Stewart, Chief Designer  Simon Andolina, Design Tim Mann, Design Abi Watson, Design Debbie Talley, Production Manager  Chris Barlow, Editor  Tim Hennessey Jr., Writer Stuart Wade, Writer Karen Taylor, Writer Meagan Fleming, Social Media Specialist Daniel Gibson, Project Manager

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