Autonomy in Software Development Highest Among US and Indian Developers, Lowest Among Germans

Greater Autonomy to Define the Future of Software Development: Survey

Atlassian Corporation Plc (NASDAQ:TEAM), a leading provider of team collaboration and productivity software and the maker of Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket and Trello products, has released its first-ever global State of the Developer report. The research shows that autonomy trumps all with greater autonomy making developers happier at work, despite more frequent context switching and increased job complexity. Developers who enjoy more autonomy tend to spend more time coding and are able to work on a greater number of products and services.

The report uncovers important trends in how developers' attitudes and preferences about their work have changed over the past year, including the rise of ‘You build it, you run it’ (YBIYRI) as a practice. YBIYRI is an increasingly common software development methodology with almost 60% of teams currently working this way. Teams working in YBIYRI require new and diverse roles, especially when they are transitioning into the practice.

A look at India’s developer ecosystem

The research shows that autonomy levels for developers globally is high, with 50% claiming strong autonomy. Additionally, stronger autonomy correlates with positive feelings about work, and autonomy is at its highest in the US and India (57% and 56% respectively) and lowest in Germany (29%).

It was observed that tool sprawl could be the worst in India with 78% of developers saying they are using more than six tools. In the US, this number is 72% while only half of the developers in Germany (50%) use more than six tools.

What should leaders consider when building and managing development teams?

Developer autonomy trumps all – The research shows that greater autonomy makes developers happier at work. Additionally, developers who enjoy more autonomy tend to spend more time coding and are able to work on a greater number of products and services. Autonomy levels are highest for developers who have been in their roles for 6-10 years, within larger companies (250-1000 employees), and in teams running YBIYRI.

Developers are taking more responsibility – The rise of YBIYRI as a practice has seen development teams doing more to support the code they work with. The research shows almost 60% of developers now work this way, with a larger number agreeing that they should be responsible for more of the software product lifecycle than they currently are (over 65%). Developers who are close to a product or service have the potential to improve it further when given a high degree of ownership. Engineering leaders should create more space for development teams to take on YBIYRI responsibilities, ensuring they have the right tools, processes, and rituals to be successful.

Coding or tooling is a matter of preference – Two-thirds of developers (65%) say that writing new code is the most valuable skill in their role, while 74% feel that being able to read code is vital. Yet 58% of developers don’t feel that writing code from scratch will be required as part of their roles in the future, and 51% say they mainly assemble code written by others. Managers and team leaders should let developers lean into those preferences rather than dictating “how things are done around here.”

Fewer tools isn’t always the best outcome – A majority of developers are using more tools to get work done than before (almost 70%), and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Flexibility in tools is the key. Those with more flexible tools say it simplifies their work, making them happier in their roles, while those adopting a growing number of inflexible tools face the risk of tool sprawl. Almost half of the developers surveyed say they have a stable toolchain (46%). The remainder has increased the number of tools either with flexible tools (38%) or inflexible tools (16%).

Dinesh Ajmera, Site Lead and Head of Engineering, India, Atlassian said, “Our State of the Developer report presents some important findings on the state of play across the global software developer ecosystem, especially in the context of India. Among Indian developers, it was particularly heartening to see that our developer community in comparison to the other countries enjoyed a greater degree of autonomy and thereby stated to be happier at work."

“I believe this report presents an array of findings that will help leaders understand the changing dynamics of the developer ecosystem. At Atlassian, we recognize this and believe that by empowering our teams with the correct set of tools, technologies and processes we will be able to usher in a greater degree of autonomy and build efficiencies for teams," he further added.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach

Greater autonomy is the future of software development. This means more freedom to decide which tools developers use, what they work on, and how that work gets done.

Atlassian is dedicated to providing the tools that facilitate this alignment and autonomy for teams of all sizes. With the recent launch of Compass, a new Atlassian program to create new products in collaboration with customers, developers are now going beyond coding and are empowered with the autonomy to connect the tools they want to use.

To find out more about the research and download the report, please visit - Autonomy is the future of software development - Work Life by Atlassian

Atlassian unleashes the potential of every team. Our team collaboration and productivity software helps teams organize, discuss, and complete shared work. Teams at more than 225,000 customers, across large and small organizations - including Bank of America, Redfin, NASA, Verizon, and Dropbox - use Atlassian’s project tracking, content creation and sharing, and service management products to work better together and deliver quality results on time. Learn more about our products, including Jira Software, Confluence, Jira Service Management, Trello, Bitbucket, and Jira Align at

About the research

Atlassian’s first State of the Developer report seeks to uncover the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of modern software developers. The study offers a range of perspectives on how developers are working, their perception and attitudes on the future skillsets required to succeed, how they’re managing tool sprawl, and what drives job satisfaction. 

This research looks into the trends shaping software development and their impact on development teams in markets across the world. The survey ran for a month between August and September 2021, targeting 2,182 respondents across four countries: Australia (21%), India (36%), Germany (16%), and the United States (27%).


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