Beyond Code: How Craftsmanship Transforms Development and DevOps
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Software development and DevOps are constantly evolving fields where quality, collaboration, and responsibility play a crucial role. It is in this context that Craftsmanship, or the craftsmanship of software development, emerges as a fundamental approach to creating robust and high-performing software solutions.

Craftsmanship encompasses a set of principles that emphasize technical excellence, collaboration, and individual and collective responsibility. These principles aim to improve the quality of developed software, foster a culture of collaborative work, and encourage accountability from each team member.

Technical excellence is a central pillar of Craftsmanship. This involves adopting rigorous development practices, mastering relevant programming languages, tools, and technologies, and continuously seeking to improve technical skills. By focusing on technical excellence, Craftsmanship aims to produce reliable, high-performing, and easily maintainable software.

Collaboration is another essential facet of Craftsmanship. Working as a team, sharing knowledge and best practices, and promoting clear and open communication are crucial aspects for project success. Craftsmanship encourages the practice of pair programming, where two developers work together on the same piece of code, thus fostering knowledge sharing and continuous improvement.

Responsibility, both individual and collective, is also a fundamental principle of Craftsmanship. Each team member is encouraged to take responsibility for the quality of the code they produce, the maintenance of the software, and the satisfaction of end users. Collective responsibility translates into the team’s commitment to work together to achieve project goals and make decisions that benefit the entire team and product.

By adopting the principles of Craftsmanship, software development and DevOps teams can create superior quality software, improve productivity, and foster a culture of collaboration and responsibility. In this article, we will explore in more detail the specific practices of Craftsmanship as well as the key skills required to successfully implement it.

Understanding Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship, or the craftsmanship of software development, is an approach that emphasizes quality, simplicity, and flexibility in software creation. It draws inspiration from traditional artisan trades, where craftsmen take pride in their work and strive to produce intricately crafted pieces of exceptional quality.

Over time, Craftsmanship has evolved in the software industry to adapt to changing challenges and needs. It has become a response to the shortcomings of traditional approaches such as the Waterfall model, which emphasized rigid and linear planning and did not allow for easy adjustments during development.

The fundamental values of Craftsmanship are built upon three essential pillars: quality, simplicity, and flexibility.

  • Quality lies at the core of Craftsmanship, aiming to produce reliable, durable, and defect-free software. Practitioners of Craftsmanship focus on creating clean, well-structured, and well-tested code, employing practices like Test Driven Development (TDD) to ensure software quality throughout the development process.

  • Simplicity is another key value of Craftsmanship. Rather than seeking complex and sophisticated solutions, software artisans prioritize simplicity, creating software that is easy to understand, maintain, and extend. They avoid unnecessary features and complexities, favoring a minimalist approach that results in more agile and adaptable software.

  • Flexibility is also an essential value of Craftsmanship. Practitioners of Craftsmanship acknowledge that user needs and project requirements can evolve over time. Therefore, they aim to create flexible software capable of easily adapting to changes and market evolutions. This translates into modular architecture, well-structured code, and Agile development processes such as Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD).

Compared to other development approaches such as the Waterfall model or Agile methodologies, Craftsmanship stands out with its commitment to quality, simplicity, and flexibility. While the Waterfall model emphasizes rigid planning and sequentiality, Craftsmanship promotes adaptability and responsiveness to change. In contrast to Agile methodologies, Craftsmanship underscores the importance of technical excellence and individual responsibility, emphasizing the creation of superior quality software.

By understanding these fundamental principles of Craftsmanship, software development professionals can adopt a more holistic and quality-focused approach, leading to higher-performing, more maintainable, and user-oriented software solutions.

Craftsmanship Practices

Craftsmanship distinguishes itself through the adoption of practices that promote technical excellence, collaboration, and the delivery of quality software.

Here are three key practices of Craftsmanship:

  1. Test-Driven Development (TDD) or How Tests Guide Software Development: Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a central practice of Craftsmanship that places tests at the core of the development process. With TDD, developers first write automated tests to define the expected behavior of the code and then implement the code to pass these tests successfully. This iterative approach ensures that each feature is rigorously tested and that the code meets the specifications. TDD promotes software quality by quickly identifying errors and ensuring code robustness throughout the development cycle.

  2. Pair Programming or Collaborating for Better Quality and Knowledge Sharing: Pair Programming is a practice of close collaboration between two developers working together on the same piece of code. One developer writes the code while the other observes, reflects, asks questions, and suggests improvements. By regularly switching roles, both developers benefit from a better understanding of the code, instant feedback, and continuous improvement of their skills. Pair Programming enhances code quality by detecting errors faster, sharing knowledge, and reinforcing collective responsibility within the team.

  3. Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) or Automating Processes for Reliable Delivery: CI and CD are essential practices for ensuring reliable and regular software delivery. CI involves automating code integration processes by performing automated tests with every change to the source code. This allows for the rapid detection of compatibility, quality, and security issues, ensuring stable code. CD goes further by also automating the deployment of software to the production environment. This enables continuous delivery, reducing the risks of human errors and accelerating the development cycle. Continuous integration and continuous deployment facilitate collaboration, improve software quality, and enhance the development team’s agility.

By adopting these Craftsmanship practices, software development teams can improve code quality and security, encourage collaboration, and ensure reliable software delivery. These practices contribute to strengthening the Craftsmanship culture and cultivating an approach focused on technical excellence and user satisfaction.

Key Skills of Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship demands software development professionals to possess a set of key skills to achieve technical excellence and foster collaboration within the team.

Craftsmanship relies on three essential skills:

  1. Mastery of Programming Languages and Tools: Mastery of programming languages and tools is a fundamental aspect of Craftsmanship. Developers need to have an in-depth understanding of the programming languages used in their domain, as well as the frameworks, libraries, and associated tools. A solid understanding of these tools enables software artisans to choose the most appropriate solutions, code efficiently, optimize performance, and solve complex technical issues. Proficiency in development tools such as the version control system Git, integrated development environments (IDEs), and automation tools is also crucial to maximize productivity and code quality.

  2. Knowledge of Software Architecture and Design Patterns: Professionals practicing Craftsmanship must possess strong knowledge of software architecture and design patterns. A good understanding of design principles and architectural patterns allows for the creation of well-structured, scalable, and maintainable software. Proficiency in concepts like hexagonal architecture, proper usage of design patterns (creational, structural, behavioral), and functional programming are commonly employed in software development. This knowledge enables developers to make informed decisions when designing and organizing their software systems, promoting modular and flexible architecture.

  3. Ability to Work in a Team and Communicate Effectively: Craftsmanship emphasizes collaboration and collective responsibility. Therefore, it is essential for software artisans to have skills in teamwork and effective communication. This includes the ability to share ideas, listen to other team members, provide constructive feedback, and resolve conflicts collaboratively. Clear and open communication facilitates collaboration among developers, testers, project managers, and stakeholders, enabling a better understanding of project requirements and ensuring effective alignment. Willingness to work as a team also promotes knowledge sharing, mutual learning, and continuous improvement within the team.

By developing and strengthening these key skills, software development professionals can embark on the path of Craftsmanship, ensuring technical excellence, robust architecture, and fruitful collaboration within their development team.

Cultivating Craftsmanship in Teams

Craftsmanship extends beyond individual skills and must also be cultivated within software development teams.

Here are three key strategies to promote and develop Craftsmanship within a team:

  1. Encourage Continuous Learning and Knowledge Sharing: To foster Craftsmanship, it is essential to encourage continuous learning and knowledge sharing within the team. This can take the form of regular training sessions, technical conferences, online courses, or participation in developer communities. By providing learning opportunities, team members can stay up to date with new technologies, development best practices, and market trends. Knowledge sharing can occur through pair programming sessions, regular code reviews, or the creation of an internal knowledge base. The goal is to enable each team member to grow professionally and actively contribute to collective improvement.

  2. Create a Culture of Learning and Continuous Improvement: The culture of a team has a significant impact on the practice of Craftsmanship. It is important to create a culture focused on learning and continuous improvement. This can be achieved by encouraging experimentation, fostering open discussions about challenges and mistakes, and implementing regular retrospectives to assess team performance and identify improvement opportunities. It is also important to promote intellectual curiosity and innovation, allowing team members to explore new ideas and propose enhancements. By creating a culture that values learning and continuous improvement, Craftsmanship becomes a norm within the team.

  3. Recognize and Reward Craftsmanship Practices: To support Craftsmanship, it is essential to recognize and reward exemplary practices within the team. This can be done through formal or informal recognition systems, such as rewards, special mentions during team meetings, or professional growth opportunities. Recognizing individual efforts and achievements encourages team members to continue their Craftsmanship practices and strengthens the culture of technical excellence. By highlighting Craftsmanship practices, the team creates an environment where quality, collaboration, and accountability are valued and acknowledged.

By implementing these strategies, software development teams can cultivate Craftsmanship and create a culture where technical excellence, collaboration, and continuous learning are essential values. This leads to higher-quality software, more effective teams, and increased end-user satisfaction.


Craftsmanship, with its principles of technical excellence, collaboration, and accountability, plays a crucial role in software development and DevOps. Throughout this article, we have explored the various facets of Craftsmanship, from its definition to identifying key skills and essential practices.

In conclusion, it is essential to integrate the principles of Craftsmanship into our software development and DevOps practice. By doing so, we can aspire to deliver superior-quality products, build high-performing teams, and achieve increased end-user satisfaction. As software development professionals, by cultivating Craftsmanship, we can shape a future where excellence, quality, user satisfaction, and a commitment to doing good work guide software development and DevOps.

Jean-Jerome Levy

Written by

Jean-Jerome Levy

DevOps Consultant

Seasoned professional in the field of information technology, I bring over 20 years of experience from working within major corporate IT departments. My diverse expertise has played a pivotal role in a myriad of projects, marked by the implementation of innovative DevOps practices.