Before joining the OpenContext team I’d taken about five years off from tech to explore other industries such as the Gig Economy, B2B and B2C Finance, Healthcare, Film and TV, and more. As one of the fastest moving industries, jumping back into tech and into a tech company for other tech companies and teams has already involved a ton of learning and relearning.
So, while I’m still catching up on some of the newer developments, I can’t help but ask “what’s next?”
Thankfully, our team is pretty gracious about my curiosity (even though I’ve turned a few standups into hour-long tangents).
In the last few weeks, I had a chance to sit down with each of our founders, Alice, Beth, and Brian to ask them questions including “How do you see product teams in tech changing in the next 5 years?” Here are some of the takeaways from their answers.
In my interview with our CEO, Brian Walter, he predicts that the increasing number of tools built for DevOps and SRE are going to make it so developers can be more independent:
“It's easier now for you to build a prototype than it ever was. And I don't even mean prototype. I mean, something that could evolve into a full-blown product.”
And with that, more developer-driven ideas will come to fruition:
“We're going to start to see people with a product idea able to go use off-the-shelf technology to build it without having a whole lot of support. There are already codeless app-building tools. Lots of them.”
While Brian claims that “the future is rosy for developers,” he also acknowledges that more tools equal more products and services which therefore makes things more complicated:
“It's so easy for somebody to go stand up a service on their own, but it might need to interact with dozens of other services. That's not going away.”
That's where tools for the tool builders come into play…
Even the most organized, thoughtfully-run product teams are pretty chaotic with many moving parts and the biggest culprit ends up being the shared tools and talent across microservices. “Without properly mapping the network of tools and people and services, the future of the already messy state of the cloud is going to be a disaster.”
The results are clear in the most common pain points you hear: Individuals and teams working in multiple states of redundancy and forms of stepping on each other’s toes. Getting these parts to connect will be the challenge with the ultimate goal of achieving context:
“Context—and OpenContext, of course—is going to clean that up and change the way tech organizations work together for the better.”
Developers don’t get all the fun. As our Head Spark, Beth Fuller shares her vision for a tech landscape with more context that will create more efficient environments for big picture, solutions-focused roles as well:
“My hope is context allows systems thinkers and specialists to work side-by-side with more brain space and power because they'll understand how things work without additional effort to distract them. I expect that there will be a whole other batch of new tooling to help architects and systems thinkers be more efficient.”
One thing is universally certain, team communication is always an area for improvement (which, I know, makes this heading pretty weak), but in many ways, the question is where will the information go?
“In five years, we're going to see a lot of tech is going to have the potential to change in ways that it hasn't in the past because people will have the context somewhere outside of their heads.”
One of the cardinal rules of good communication is never expecting anyone to be a mind reader. Getting knowledge out in the open will create shared context. Building a space for that context to exist is going to help individuals be more resourceful and cut down on the time it takes to figure “things” out.
This might be our spiciest prediction coming to you from our CTO, Alice Chen, who shared in our interview that improving communication will alleviate the need for things like DevOps:
“The only reason we have things called DevOps and DevSecOps is that we can't figure out how to speak the same language or see things from different points of view… OpenContext will be a bridge for teams to talk to each other instead of squishing 2-3+ job roles into one person.”
Emily Freeman, author of DevOps for Dummies and 97 Things Every Cloud Engineer Should Know, dropped a metaphorical bomb on the DevOps community in 2021 that the software development lifecycle (SDLC) that goes back to the 1960s needed to be revolutionized.
She proposes a revolution with more shared experience across all functions of the product lifecycle:
And we couldn’t agree more. Shared context within tech organizations could very well be the glue that brings this framework to reality.
This isn’t to suggest that every meeting or brainstorm would benefit from being in person but their point that you could “‘beam in’ specialist expertise from across the globe to learn, grow and collaborate,” is compelling to imagine.
As the metaverse solidifies new experiences in a user’s personal life, it only makes sense that it would eventually become an accepted part of professional work environments too.
Along with Brian’s prediction that tools will enable more product ideas to come to fruition, we’re also going to see teams shrink in size or start small and remain that way much longer. The current pains of abundant layoffs in tech foreshadow this trend of the future.
With fewer resources required to produce more products, we may see more bootstrapping startup businesses.
This is good because overhiring has been a problem in tech for quite some time. Niya D., Co-Founder at Candor, shares major insight into where the overhiring and subsequent layoff issues stem from in tech:
Which predictions do you agree with or even better which ones do you disagree with?
How do you expect things will be different in tech in 2030?
What are you hoping to see in the next 5-10 years of tech?
And, my favorite question, what is your prediction for how shared context will impact the future of work?
Share your responses with us!
Editor’s Note: We don’t have comments on our blog because we’re a growing organization and our marketing person can’t dedicate much time to moderating them so share with us on Twitter and tag @OpenContextInc.