Part Six - A Digital Detox for your Development Team

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Part Six - A Digital Detox for your Development Team

As we present the final blog of our Detoxing series, we’re thinking about all the opportunities we’ve explored thus far to detox your digital operations. Hopefully, you’ve already gained some useful and practical tips to help you get started. Here we’ll discuss how to implement a digital detox for your development team.

Did you know? Your development team could be a secret weapon to help you push forward with your digital sustainability goals. Developers are usually super knowledgeable about the inner workings of your digital platforms and technical infrastructure.

Make time to listen to their ideas about how to detox your development processes, existing systems and tech stack. This is useful for getting new ideas and fresh perspective, but also valuable for gaining buy-in from the team as you embark on your detoxing journey.

What is a digital detox?

If you’ve missed the previous blogs in our Detoxing series, here’s a recap; everything we do online requires energy; from plugging in your laptop to connecting to Wifi or your phone’s mobile signal. In turn, this energy creates carbon, which is released into the atmosphere of the earth.

The more excess carbon in the atmosphere, the more the planet’s natural make-up is altered. We witness these changes in weather patterns, depletion of natural resources and the extinction of wildlife and flora. The clock is ticking - we have less than a decade left to prevent irreversible damage to the planet.

That’s why, at Digital Detox, it’s our mission to put people and the planet at the heart of everything we do. It’s all about working smarter, leaner and more consciously to reduce our negative impact on the environment.

In the blog series, we’ve already talked about how to detox your design, digital transformation, devops and digital strategy. Now we’re discussing how to detox your development team’s approach too.

Start at the top

Leadership is a theme that’s popped up in pretty much all of our Detoxing blogs. Change should start at the top and it depends on good leadership to be successful. If you’re serious about detoxing your development team, there should be someone driving the goal forward from the top down.

You may need to employ a digital sustainability leader, or work with an external partner who can guide you through your development detox.

It’s important to set the intention and deliver clear development briefs to the team that incorporate digital sustainability as standard. This means everyone needs to buy into the concept and understand the importance of detoxing your development approach.

Your developers are just one piece of the puzzle; you’ll also need to find ways to be more energy efficient in your design, product management, business analysis, commercial function and customer strategy.

Detoxing isn’t something that happens by chance; it takes planning, commitment and a company-wide cultural change. It’s hard work, but it’s definitely worth it.

Make changes now!

Why not task your development team with identifying five sustainable changes they could make to your existing technical infrastructure, development approach or processes TODAY?

Planning is critical for your long term sustainability journey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from quick wins immediately.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Aim to make your daily stand up more energy efficient (better tools, quicker, productive outputs, less wasteful practices)
  • Digitise any offline or outdated processes within the team
  • Review your existing or next sprint and identify at least one change to make it more energy efficient
  • Before you build anything new, check whether you can reuse any existing components from previous work, instead of starting from scratch
  • Use prototyping to prove concepts before development to save on unnecessary iterations and wasted development time
  • Fail fast, pivot, move on - this way you won’t waste time and energy trying to salvage a concept or approach that won’t work
  • Speak to your customers, often, and share the insight with your development team. Ask them to come up with ideas for solving customers’ needs in a sustainable way
  • Encourage developers and designers to work closely to check technical feasibility of designs upfront, to avoid unnecessary work further down the line
  • Ask each developer to be accountable for their own personal digital detox (switch off appliances when not in use, move to an energy conscious broadband or mobile supplier, make ethical purchasing decisions, dispose of waste correctly).

Remember that if every developer in the team makes small changes, these will combine to form a big, collective transformation!

Keep going

Detoxing your development team isn’t a one off, box-ticking exercise. The good news is that simply by digitising many clunky, labour intensive offline practices, your detox has already begun.

Adding digital sustainability to your list of KPIs means you’ll be able to factor in energy efficiency at every stage of your development process. From planning to coding, your developers can become more conscious of their digital carbon footprint. Once you begin to see the change happening, the team will be motivated to do more.

The principles of a digital detox for your development team are simple:

  • More efficiency
  • Less waste
  • Conscious coding
  • Sustainable KPIs
  • Ongoing change
  • Customer focused
  • Shared accountability

Want to learn more?

At Digital Detox, we work with organisations of all sizes and industries to help achieve digital transformation goals that are as sustainable as they are effective.

Check out our Services section to see some examples of what we’ve done, or visit the blog to read the full Detoxing series.

If you’re unsure of where to start, we can help! Just give us a call and let’s chat about what you’d like to achieve; your current challenges, ideas and opportunities.

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