Application Development

How Dell Flipped Developer Productivity from 20/80 to 80/20

Dell re-engineered its developer experience to achieve 80% developer productivity and complete 21 million pipeline runs in just one year.

Ann Rosen

Dec 14, 2023

If I told you that your manufacturing plant was only producing at 20% capacity, would you close down the plant? Or at least call a search party to investigate? I am willing to bet that you would. 

But why is it that we are willing to accept any less when it comes to some of our most valuable resources, who are so vital to our digital transformation? Why would any organization allow their business-critical software development team to operate at sub-par productivity? And yet, we see this every day. 

The team at Dell decided - no more. As Dell was embarking on a large-scale digital transformation, the IT executive team knew that they must adopt DevOps practices at scale.  But they were in for a surprise. They discovered that their developer productivity was blocked by tedious administrative and manual tasks and processes. So much so, that Dell developers were only spending 20% of their time actually writing functional code! Imagine that! The software development leadership team made it their mission to dramatically accelerate developer productivity by reimagining the developer experience at Dell.  

At our webinar, we had the pleasure of hosting Cody Taylor, the driving force behind the DevOps transformation at Dell. This conversation with Cody offers a firsthand account of how Cody and team re-engineered the developer experience at the heart of an epic DevOps journey at Dell. The organization needed to transform while continuously supporting over 2700 software applications with more than 420 PB of data, processing 63 million orders and 84 thousand shipments while empowering 130 thousand Dell team-members, working flexibly. 

Here are five of the many DevOps learnings that Cody shares in this webinar: 

  1. Automate, automate, automate: Foster an ‘automate first’ mentality and culture. Deliver ‘everything as code’, not just the software but also infrastructure and data.

  2. API-first developer self-service: Give developers self-service access to systems and tools using APIs only. Manual dependencies and bottlenecks are eliminated.

  3. Integrate pipeline toolchain: Streamline end-to-end pipelines by integrating tools, all the way from requirements management to observability and data automation across.

  4. Offer a developer marketplace: Build a rich internal marketplace offering developers standardized UX components and self-service APIs as well as cloud services.

  5. Remove data friction: Eliminate manual and painstaking steps related to test data by automating the provisioning and management of data and integrating TDM into pipelines

By following these best practices and others, Cody and team have reached phenomenal results. Five of the key metrics realized by the team at Dell include: 

  1. 17 minutes to create a pipeline.

  2. 6000 self-service data access requests and 80% of provisioning done by developers.

  3. Improved provisioning time from months to minutes.

  4. Developers spend over 75% of their time writing functional code.

  5. 50 Million CI/CD pipeline job runs to date.

To learn more from the experts at Dell about how you too, can accelerate your DevOps journey, please check out our webinar with Dell