The Great Talent Multiplier : Optimize Your ServiceNow Dev Talent Productivity

Scott Willson

Over the last fifteen years, DevOps has developed as a discipline to continuously deploy, monitor, and improve applications in a way that empowers all stakeholders to act on the value of their software factories. Software stakeholders and DevOps pipelines will be tested as never before, with the historical demand for new apps exceeding the combined number of apps produced over the past half-century and the lingering effects the 2020 pandemic still has on the compensation, retention, and hiring of tech workers.

Tech Worker Retention & Turnover Impact All Sectors Including ServiceNow Dev

There are a lot of facts, figures, and data about current employment trends.  Going into January of this year (2022), there was talk of a hidden resignation following the Great Resignation.  But now, with a recession upon us, tech workers used to asking for bodacious benefits and remote work are being told no for the first time since the pandemic lock-downs.  Additionally, tech employers are freezing hiring, laying off employees, and rescinding employment offers.  That said, The Wall Street Journal reported that “job postings for tech positions reached 505,663 in June, a 62% increase over the same time a year ago, indicating employers that are dialing down hiring are more than offset by those still adding to their ranks.”

Amidst the current labor market agitation, the bottom line is that more will be required from fewer people.  This pressure will continue to feed the motives and wandering eyes of employees.  In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, nearly 50% of employees who may consider leaving their current jobs will do so due to a lack of performing meaningful work, among a list of factors.  Though there are many reasons why tech workers leave their current job, one factor that may temporarily stall the turnover rate is the market correction for salaries which became historically inflated in 2021.

The Demand for New Apps – A Growing Demand for Efficient ServiceNow DevOps

However, juxtaposed with these employment pressures is a historic increase in the demand for software.  IDC estimates that 750 million new logical applications will be built over the next three years.  This demand is placed upon a workforce that already works evenings, weekends, and holidays to deploy changes to critical software.  If you are concerned about employee retention, you should ask yourself this question.  What role, if any, can technology play in IT employee retention?  Or perhaps there is a more pragmatic question.  Is there a technology that can reduce off-hours work?  

We believe that a significant percentage of these 750 million apps won’t be coded from scratch but will instead be built on top of platforms such as ServiceNow.  We at xtype saw an opportunity to make a positive change in the quality of life and productivity of work for IT professionals.  xtype is a company started by seasoned software technology professionals with large-scale DevOps experience serving in the Global 2000.  We recognized that DevOps practices alone aren’t enough to address the unique challenges of platform-built applications.

ServiceNow DevOps Doesn’t Have to Be Like a Square Peg in a Round Hole

Conventional wisdom holds that applying DevOps to ServiceNow requires externalizing ServiceNow artifacts and processes into traditional DevOps tooling.  However, in our experience, this practice further reduces the lack of cross-instance visibility and increases the complexity of managing changes across multiple instances.  We further observed that non-platform-aware tools and practices increased the tendency of enterprises to clone production instances backward to sub-prod instances to address the compounded problems DevOps was trying to reduce.

DevOps should be applied to ServiceNow judiciously to better leverage the native functionality within the platform.  DevOps tools and practices should work with application platforms such as ServiceNow and not uncritically force them into methods for scratch-built applications.

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