Tips and Tricks

Make your developers happy with Visual Assist

In our last post, we estimated how much time and money an extension like Visual Assist save. This time, however, we’re keeping it basic and focusing on one of the most obvious productivity signals: a happy developer. 

This blog is intended for lead developers, team managers, and procurement decision makers.

Why leaders need to keep their developers happy

A satisfied developer is a reliable indicator for two things: work is being done, and work is being done in a timely manner. Have you ever seen someone frantically working with an outdated program produce great output?

Software developers and programmers are the primary drivers of projects. An inconvenience for developers is an inconvenience to the team as a whole. Each second spent on side tasks such as troubleshooting their workspace or reading long documentation is a bother (necessary but a chore nonetheless).

Ensuring a hassle-free work environment

Apart from employee benefits and privileges, one of the best ways to keep developer satisfaction and productivity up is ensuring that the work environment is healthy. For developers, that’s their work desk or more specifically, their IDE.

A well-equipped developer will be able to confront their day to day tasks efficiently. For example, one key benefit of having a productivity plugin like Visual Assist is having better quality code with significantly reduced effort. It provides developers automatic prompts and suggestions that are based on the latest industry standards without them having to study and re-learn themselves.

Visual Assist on the Visual Studio marketplace with a 4.8-star rating.

Conversely, developers will not hesitate to discuss when there are roadblocks; so it’s fair to assume that they will do the same when they feel that their coding environment needs an upgrade.  

That is why it is not that difficult to keep the developers’ toolkit up to date. Feedback from day-to-day interactions  are one of most accessible indicators for performance and friction points—requiring no more than a chat with a team member.

Keeping track of developer satisfaction is one of the easiest productivity boosters. Suffice to say that if a developer asks for a specific tool, the confidence and productivity boost is often worth the initial investment.

The difficulty in gauging productivity

Business decision makers will often try to verify their developers’ sentiments with a numbers-based return on investment (ROI) analysis. In business speak, those are calculations and simulations on whether the purchase of a machine will benefit the business in the long-term.

Decision makers will rightfully ask: How much return of investment can we expect if we buy X number of Visual Assist licenses?

How much can we expect to save when we invest into this productivity extension?
– A common question from our enterprise clients

Empirical studies regarding software dev productivity are hard to come by. Productivity extensions like Visual Assist save time but it cannot say by how much. Those would need sophisticated tracking and behavior monitoring.

While certainly not something to underestimate, in-depth analyses take valuable time and effort on the side of company decision makers because most use cases will vary per team. The ceiling and floor ROI will adjust depending based on a number of factors including: 

  • How much of the tool is utilized
  • Duration of usage
  • Familiarity and skill with the tool

It is a justified question but there is no easy and direct answer to it which is why the fastest and most efficient method would be to trust your developers.

For example, Visual Assist has many users who say that Visual Studio is unusable without Visual Assist. While that may be slightly exaggerated, once you get used to it it’s really hard to go back to vanilla Visual Studio.

With a reasonable amount of practice and familiarity, users also report that they can work 3 times faster with the plugin installed. 

A Visual Assist user shares his review on G2.

Justifying a software purchase

This begs the question: what fact-based estimate should companies and businesses use when choosing productivity software? 

One thing to keep in mind is that productivity-augmenting extensions like Visual Assist are extremely inexpensive compared to the overall cost of hiring a skilled developer. 

To put that into perspective, a Visual Assist-equipped developer is only 0.35% more expensive than a developer without. 

That means that as decision makers, you just need confirmation from your developers that this tool would, at the bare minimum, make them be 1% more productive to justify the initial investment. In terms of time saved, that is around 5 hours per year to break even.

The ROI margin for Visual Assist is low. It pays for itself even with minimal use.

Say for example: A single VA license costs $280 per developer; a C++ developer’s annual wage is around $75,000 per year. Calculating those, you would only be adding 0.35% to the overall cost of hiring a developer. That’s an extremely low margin to reach to justify the purchase.

You can add other factors such as depreciation, deployment costs, and multi-license savings but even if you exaggerate those factors, there is minimal risk involved because of the huge ROI margin.

Simply speaking, listen to your developers. Even without exact numbers, it is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to improve the workspace quality–and thus overall productivity. 

 Try Visual Assist

webinar showcasing visual assist features

A webinar hosted by Visual Assist lead developer, Chris Gardner, showcasing code inspections, one of VA’s many productivity features.

Ask your developers to give Visual Assist a spin. Leverage its many features and see if the productivity gains that everyone is talking about are true. Try Visual Assist for 30 days

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