Ep. 26 — Small things infrastructure teams can do to enhance developers’ efficiency and even their general well-being at work

Developers and testers depend on a lot of infrastructure (from Active Directory, VPN, stable/secure/compliant environments) to do their magic. There are a few small, but not-so-obvious things that infrastructure teams can do to make their dev/test teams daily work easier.

  • Overview diagrams and description of add-ons we use on top of vanilla OS, why they are there and what they do (e.g. management policies, malware protection, inbound/outbound firewall rules, etc.). Troubleshooting is much easier when developers/testers have a big picture view into the operating environment the application lives in.
  • Availability of “isolated sandboxes” where experienced developers/testers can validate their hypothesis safely. Here, our infrastructure team can make a big difference. Isolated sandboxes with simple guardrails can empower them to future-proof their applications.
  • Simple ways to retrieve logs and capture request/response traffic. Contrary to popular memes, developers/testers do test their changes extensively on their laptops. Given easy access to runtime logs and ability to probe common environment details (e.g. JDK version, socket timeout, etc.), the classic reaction “This doesn’t make any sense… it worked on my machine!” will be used less often.
  • Walk a mile in their shoes (developers/testers’ shoes.) As we upgrade infrastructure (e.g. Windows, databases, security tools, etc.) it’s worthwhile investing a little time writing a “Hello World” on top of it. Yes, it’s outside of our day-to-day role, but it will enable us to make better decisions going forward and at the same time, develop stronger empathy with the dev/test community.

Hope this helps and happy infrastructure building!