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Front-end last and the "3 before 1" rule

People with different skills work on the project. They want to deliver business-defined value for the business. This means more demand for team members with a specific specialization. A front-end developer may be completely unnecessary.

All is about management

Yes, all depends from how we would like as a team manage our project and some other things. So let's start with what the project preparation looks like before the first line of code is even created.

At the beginning there is an idea which is a thesis that if we perform some action/change we will get a certain effect. The thesis has to be validated, which means proving that the idea was good. Depending on the project management methodology, we prove the thesis as soon as possible, but we can also go the extreme wrong way and assume that we will validate the thesis when we finish the project. So this is about the agile and waterfall approach.

Everyone wants to be agile

Of course, any reasonable team wants to confirm as soon as possible whether what they come up with just works. They need to:

  • gather business requirements based on;
  • define data models;
  • define user interfaces that use the data;

So based on the above, we can say that in a project we need a team in which there are:

  • a business representative - this could be a product owner, product manager, business analyst;
  • an engineer who will take care of data handling and devops - let's say it will be a backend developer
  • and a UX/UI developer who will handle the development of the data presentation defined by the two earlier project members.

There is no need for a front-end developer to be on the team because he will not bring any major value to the development of the project's shape and operation. His job is to connect the graphic design and the data. This is, of course, very important, but once again - only at the stage when you really already know what and how the team wants to execute. This is what I call the "3 before 1" rule.

It's not a bug, it's a cost

In most projects front-end developers are from the beginning. They do the setup of the environment, choose frameworks for themselves only to change to newer ones after a week, do the planning based on residual information about the project not yet fully understanding what needs to be done. Is it unfair what I write about frontend? Hey, I'm one myself so let's recognize this is not some self-criticism, joke or mockery - I just know that's how it is sometimes.

The presence of front-end developers at an early stage is justified by the fact that they should participate in the work from the beginning to understand the business model of the project, the purpose, the language the business talks. Let me remind you again - the front-end developer is only supposed to create a presentation layer based on the project and data, so getting to know the project and data. Getting the front-end developers to know the business model so that they do their job will be a natural process if the business, UX/UI and backend have done their job well beforehand.

Companies forming a team with all the roles from the beginning provide a false and costly sense that since there are all the necessary people to execute then everything will go well.

AI instead of developer

The development of AI means that the role of developers will be able to evolve into managers of code generators. They will only streamline certain things, but most of the code will be created based on the data and commands provided. I mention this because at the moment the only protection for front-end developers from being replaced by AI is the fact that the entire front-end ecosystem has a frenzied pace of change, is overgrown in terms of tools, and for every problem solved, two new problems are created.

I am sure that over time the proportion of developers with selected roles will change significantly.

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