The Corona Virus Impact
The Corona Virus has impacted the developer world as it has every other. Office based developers have had to deal with the same issues as other office workers and as it is for them, the volume of work and performance has not been evenly distributed geographically across the world. In the first few months of the Pandemic, China and UK were particularly experiencing a rapid and major decline in software development activity. For instance, development activity in the UK dropped by 28%, even more than Italy’s 16% drop but about the same as Spain’s. India, the original home of mass software development outsourcing, declined by 18% during the same comparable period. During the peak of the first wave of the Pandemic, China lost $8.5 billion of output. Recovery started impressively but now there is concern as China may be experiencing the beginning of a second wave.
Regional Impact Varies
Regionally, the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India, 3.2 million developers), had a productivity loss of 9.4%, North America (excluding Mexico, 2.2 million developers) had a loss of 2.0%, Western Europe (2.1 million developers), had a loss of 4.1%, India (1.3 million developers) had a net increase of 1.2% (increased outsourcing from North America and Europe?), China (885,000 developers) experienced a significant loss of 17.5% of productivity, Eastern Europe (789,000 developers) also had a significant productivity decline at 12.9% as did Latin America and Caribbean (456,000 developers) at a loss of almost 16%.
Developer Productivity Suffers
Considering the Pandemic impact in more human terms, that is, the short and long term impact of teams working remotely, it is probably fair and accurate to say that most teams have struggled to one degree or another with the adjustment to remote work. Perhaps those that have not are the teams that are part of an outsourcing group, that were always working remotely and thus have overcome the inherent challenges and developed the cultures to maintain performance. If a software development team had issues prior to the Pandemic and being forced to work remotely, they most certainly had more such issues working remotely. Those teams that were productive, efficient and communicative prior, while they may have encountered initial problems when first working remotely, most likely relied on their office culture relationships and resolved or managed to contain any issues. Again, teams most likely to be performing at peak productivity levels with the least issues, are those remote based teams that are less affected by the Pandemic by definition. In some cases, such teams, when office-based for an outsourcing company, chose to stay quarantined in their shared office rather than disperse to their homes. Impressive yes, and most likely of the highest efficiency.
The developer world has been as affected as other industries. There has been definitive and in some cases, dramatic declines in developer productivity, varying regionally. Of these regions, Asia-Pacific is the more negatively impacted. This is most likely a direct result of initial business slow-down in those specific countries but also in outsourcing work delegated to those countries, primarily by Western Europe and North America, both of whom have had to rapidly learn to manage many of their own teams as remote teams. Such teams seem to be performing, relatively, close to the levels of their in-office productivity. Overall, global software development productivity has declined as a direct result of the Pandemic.