10 Signs Your Data Architecture Is Limiting Your Innovation: Part 4


There are many ways to measure developer productivity, and trying to do so can become complex and nuanced very quickly. From the speed at which new features roll out to developers’ own perception of how productive they feel, it’s difficult to find one metric that matters most.

Even more challenging is finding the root causes of the obstacles to developer productivity that you or your organization face. We believe that slowing productivity is often a sign that your data architecture is holding you back — and that modernizing and simplifying that infrastructure can significantly improve productivity and remove many of the hindrances of technical debt. That is, it will reduce two of key elements of the Data & Innovation Recurring Tax – a hidden tax on your innovation.

Our experts have identified the symptoms that indicate your business is paying DIRT — and solutions to reduce that tax. Read about them all in our white paper 10 Signs Your Data Infrastructure Is Holding You Back.

Sign #7: Your developers' productivity is getting worse

With a complex data architecture, your developers have to switch constantly between languages and think in different frameworks. They may use one language to work directly with a database, another to use the object-relational mapping (ORM) layer built on top of it, and yet another to access search functionality. That becomes a major drag on productivity.

Just as we know the vast majority of people are poor multitaskers (while believing otherwise), we also know that constantly reorienting oneself is similarly counter-productive. The American Psychological Association says so-called “switching costs” — the work the brain has to do to accommodate a change and get rolling on a new task — can eat up 40 percent of developers’ productive time.

That slows down your individual developers, but it also has consequences for how they work as a team. If every application architecture is bespoke, it’s almost impossible for developers’ skills to be shared and put to use across an organization. Development slows down. When a key person leaves, there is no one who can effectively fill in and you end up hiring for very specific skills. That’s hard enough, but you also don’t know if you’ll still need those skills in a year or three.

Our Solution: MongoDB's data platform provides developers with one cohesive interface for any work they do with data. It doesn’t matter if a developer is building an aggregation pipeline, implementing an advanced security feature, or bringing real-time analytics into an application. They use the same interface, which is purposefully aligned with the way developers naturally code and think.

Sign #8: Your team is constantly paying down technical debt

Each new technology your team selects produces a parallel increase in the number of system component interactions that need to be designed, managed, and maintained. With older data infrastructures, those new technologies multiply quickly. As user demands change, the older database technology is no longer adequate. Rather than rip out everything and start over, teams add a new single-purpose database, creating yet another silo. Then they need to build the connective tissue — including fragile and cumbersome ETL pipelines -- to link the data store to the pre-existing environment.

Multiply this a few — or a few dozen — times and you’ve racked up a significant amount of work that robs your team of time they could be spending building impressive new features. The average developer spends 13.5 hours a week managing technical debt, and 52% of developers say maintenance of legacy systems and technical debt are the biggest blockers to their productivity. Fully 78% say that spending too much time on legacy systems is bad for morale.

Our Solution:

With MongoDB's data platform, you no longer need to shuttle data between silos. Your data is accessible to anyone or any application properly authorized to use it. You dramatically streamline your architecture, eliminating the need to maintain multiple legacy systems and freeing your developers to work on the good stuff.

Learn more about the innovation tax and how to lessen it in our white paper DIRT and the High Cost of Complexity.