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Minimize Context Switching for Software Engineers

John Demian
John Demian
Head of Product Marketing
Rely.io
John Demian
June 3, 2024
5
 min read
Minimize Context Switching for Software Engineers

With Rely's Internal developer portal, engineering leaders can customize dedicated homepages for every service, team, or resource, streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity.

How Rely.io Homepages Minimize Context Switching for Software Engineers

Our goal when we created Rely Homepages was to change how software engineers tackle tasks by minimizing context switching within the development process. And that’s what we did.

One of the key responsibilities of an engineering leader is to understand the individual requirements of a diverse range of team members. They nurture and provide information to each one of them and ensure that the project goes smoothly. 

Traditionally this meant you’d have to create different wikis containing project details, a project management tool, login information for their codebase and monitoring tools, plus any other access they might require.

Naturally, this meant the developer would now have to navigate between all these tools in order to do their job and this constant context-switching added to their cognitive load, making for a very inefficient process.

The good news is that we’ve figured out how to streamline this process by centralizing all the critical information that a developer needs in one place. We call them Rely Homepages.

Personalized Homepages Built for Efficiency

By allowing engineers to access a centralized dashboard tailored to their specific projects and tasks, Rely.io significantly reduces the time spent navigating through various tools and platforms. 

This customization leads to a more focused workflow, as developers no longer need to sift through irrelevant information to get to what they need. Moreover, this approach not only saves time but also helps in reducing mental load, thereby increasing the capacity for deep, productive work. 

Personalized homepages act as a command center, presenting everything from critical updates to resource links in one easily accessible location, thus minimizing context switching and maximizing efficiency.

Centralized Data for Quick Access

When engineers have to switch between different platforms and tools to access the data they need, valuable time and focus are lost. Rely.io addresses this by centralizing all necessary data on the homepage. 

This means that software engineers can quickly access repositories, documentation, deployment statuses, and more without having to leave the page. By having a single point of reference, engineers can also ensure that they are always looking at the most up-to-date information, reducing errors that come from outdated data. 

Centralizing data not only speeds up the retrieval process but also contributes to better decision-making, as all relevant information is immediately on hand. 

This streamlined access is crucial for maintaining a fast-paced development environment and keeping projects moving forward efficiently.

Support for new hires

One of the most common issues I hear from engineer leaders is the fact that they struggle to quickly onboard new hires. It’s no longer an issue of supply but rather a logistical one where once you do find the right candidate, getting that person embedded into the team and onto a project is a big challenge.

There’s a lot of explaining to do of how everything works and then you need to provide access to every tool and service the new hire will require. All of these can be done in custom dashboards that will pack all the information they need to get going fast and have them embedded into a project in the first few hours of them starting the job.

Step Up Your Developer Experience

Customizable Scorecards for Team Growth

Within Rely.io, engineering leaders have the ability to create customizable scorecards, which serve as powerful tools for tracking progress and fostering team growth. 

These scorecards can be tailored to reflect the key performance indicators that matter most to your team, from code quality metrics to deployment frequencies. By focusing on these customized metrics, teams can clearly see where they excel and where there is room for improvement. 

This transparency not only motivates engineers by showcasing their achievements but also encourages a culture of continuous learning and development. Customizable scorecards provide a visual representation of goals and progress, making it easier for team members to align their efforts with the overall objectives. 

This feature is essential for teams looking to not just maintain their performance but to actively enhance their skills and output over time.

Support For Your Software Lifecycle

Out-of-the-box Integrations

Rely.io is built to work seamlessly with the tools and services that are integral to your software development lifecycle. From version control systems like Git to continuous integration and deployment tools, Rely.io's homepages can integrate with a wide array of platforms to provide a unified view of your projects. 

This integration capability means that data from different stages of the software lifecycle is brought together in one place.

For engineers, this translates to less time spent hopping between applications and more time honing their craft. 

Additionally, these integrations promote collaboration as team members have access to the same information and tools. Integrations are not just about convenience; they empower teams to build better software by ensuring that all the moving parts of the development process are connected and visible in a cohesive, efficient manner.

Check out the integrations page on our site for a complete list of all our integrations.

Smart Software catalogs

To support the rapid pace of modern software development, Rely.io includes self-service software catalogs that enable engineers to quickly find answers and resources without waiting for assistance. 

These portals act as a knowledge hub where documentation, FAQs, and tooling can be centralized in order to answer questions without having to chase down answers through different tools, wikis or even people.. 

The benefit of a self-service approach is twofold: it empowers engineers to resolve issues independently, thereby fostering a sense of autonomy and mastery, and it also accelerates the troubleshooting process, which in turn speeds up the overall development cycle. 

By minimizing delays that typically occur when waiting for help or searching for information, Rely.io's self-service portals ensure that engineers can stay in the flow of their work, maintain their productivity, and meet tight deadlines with ease. This self-reliance is crucial for teams aiming to deliver quality software solutions at a competitive speed.

I’d be remiss if I wouldn’t mention the Rely Self-service features. While it doesn't fall under the Homepages category per say, they do help minimize the context switching by giving the engineer the tools they need to perform otherwise complicated actions directly from the portal. So instead of having to request a new service from the DevOps team which would entail opening a ticket, communicating the reasoning and the requirements, fallowing up on the ticket, etc they would now simply scaffold a new service directly from Rely.io through the Self-service feature.

How to Use Homepages to Avoid Context Switching in Your Team

The number of tools that we as developers have been using to build software has been increasing slowly over time to the point where right now it involves jumping through multiple tools and patching together half truths to get to the bottom of the issue.

A recent survey stated that up to 3 hours a day, engineers spend on trying to figure things out by jumping from tool to WIKI page and back. That’s over 40% of their time spent on non core work because of how difficult it is to find the right information effectively.

With Rely.io you can avoid all of that by creating custom homepages for every member of your team. They are capable of adapting to every need of your engineers and are flexible enough that they can be manipulated so they only display the most relevant information.

Every Homepage can have multiple tabs that allow your engineers to avoid having a cumbersome screen and make it easy for them to get to the right information as fast as possible. All these tabs are customizable and are easily removed or added based on the engineers preference.

Building your first homepage

Start by understanding your goal with the homepage. Is it supposed to serve an individual or a team? Should it be customized for each person in particular or have a similar structure that would be shared between all members involved in the project?

Having a consistent design to your homepages is great but not if it comes at the cost of losing the relevant information for the individual.

You want to determine how does your engineers work on a daily and weekly basis and what information, tools and routines can you bake into the homepage in order to make their experience better.

While Rely.io allows engineers to customize their homepages at their will, I’d strongly suggest you start with a solid foundation that promotes the best practices and standards you want to promote throughout the organization.

Once you got your engineers reducing context switching now it’s time to focus on you, their fearless leader. How do you avoid jumping from tab to tab and tool to tool to collect feedback on the progress your team is making? 

You’ve guessed it: Rely.io Homepages.

You can build specific homepages that can be shared with the leadership and management of the organization that focuses on the key metrics that are relevant to measuring performance and progress of your team.

No more excuses regarding to context switching from now on. Get all your engineers on the same page with Rely Homepages by simply signing up for an account today.

John Demian
John Demian
Head of Product Marketing
Rely.io
John Demian
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