Are Dev Teams Surviving or Thriving in 2024? Insights from JetBrains and GitKraken’s State of Git Collaboration Report

A development team’s cohesion and efficiency can make or break a project. With that in mind, how can we distinguish a good team from a great one? JetBrains, in collaboration with GitKraken, explored this question, analyzing data from over 150,000 developers to bring you the 2024 State of Git Collaboration Report.

This study provides an in-depth look into the dynamics of development teams worldwide, offering insights into the factors contributing to team success. 

One of the questions we sought to answer was the ideal size for a development team – is it small, large, or somewhere in between? Our findings revealed:

  • Smaller teams often outperform their larger counterparts in agility and satisfaction.
  • The key to a team’s success appears to lie in striking the right balance between the number of team members and how their tasks are managed.

These findings challenge the conventional belief that bigger teams are inherently more productive, suggesting that true success lies in finding the right balance between team size and task management.

“Think of a two-dimensional grid where one axis is average developer productivity, and the other is the quality and quantity of collaboration across a team. You want your developers as productive as possible, and you want them collaborating as well as possible. Productivity gets hampered by the complexity of working with Git (and other roadblocks cited in the report). Collaboration gets hampered by distributed work across locations, time zones, and context. Listen to your teams, capture and analyze your data and implement tools and workflows that help you overcome these challenges in 2024.”

– Matt Johnston, CEO, GitKraken

Speaking of productivity, the tools and workflows that dev teams adopt can significantly influence their ability to collaborate effectively. Here’s what the report uncovered:

  • Seamless integration between Git repositories and project management tools like Jira or YouTrack is an absolute must for developers seeking to maintain clarity and context in their work.
  • The widespread adoption of Git underscores its central role in modern development practices, with GitHub leading the charge for both company and personal projects.
  • The right toolset can empower developers to work more cohesively, bridging the gap between individual effort and collective achievement.

Development teams inevitably encounter obstacles that can disrupt their workflow and impede progress. According to our data, context switching was a particularly notable challenge, as the frequent shift between tasks can dilute focus and reduce overall efficiency. 

Compounding this issue is the prevalence of unproductive meetings, which can eat up valuable time without delivering meaningful outcomes. When paired with unclear priorities that leave developers uncertain about which tasks warrant immediate attention, these pitfalls can create a challenging work environment. 

To address these issues, teams should implement clear communication channels to reduce the need for context switching, as well as streamline meeting agendas to ensure each one has a well-defined purpose and clear outcome. 

“Context switching, unclear priorities, and those never-ending meetings. They feel like annoyances and this report from GitKraken has data to confirm they are. As developers and development teams, it’s time to look into tools and workflows to match our needs and cut through the noise that makes us unhappy. Get into the flow, and build awesome software!”

– Maarten Balliauw, Developer Advocate, JetBrains

The process surrounding pull requests (PRs) also offers insights into a team’s operational efficiency. We observed that smaller dev teams tend to manage PRs more effectively, likely due to:

  • Shorter review cycles
  • Higher merge rates
  • More streamlined communication and a shared understanding of the codebase

“Obviously cycle time is important. You don’t want code sitting out there leading to conflicts, and work needs to make it out the door. Collaborating before the PR and being able to share code privately with a trusted teammate will foster that sharing. The earlier we share the work in progress, direction, or base, the better we can continue building on that foundation. If the foundation is solid, it saves so much time and rework later, and the PR review process becomes much faster because people have already been involved in the process the whole way through.”

– Eric Amodio, CTO, GitKraken

One surprising part of our study was the disconnect between the metrics valued by developers and those emphasized by leadership. Developers often prioritize code quality and the impact of their work, viewing these as the true measures of their success. In contrast, leadership tends to focus more on throughput and workload, which may not fully capture the nuances of development work.

To bridge this gap, engaging in open dialogue and a shared commitment to quality and innovation alongside productivity is essential.

Overall, this report emphasizes the importance of clear communication, strategic tool selection, and aligning team and individual goals to foster innovation and growth. JetBrains and GitKraken are dedicated to supporting this journey, offering developer-centric solutions that enable greater individual productivity and better development team collaboration. 

We invite you to explore the 2024 State of Git Collaboration Report in more detail and join the conversation on social media by tagging @JetBrains and @GitKraken – we’d love to hear your thoughts!