You’ve just purchased your dream car, a vintage 1979 Porsche 911, cherry red with the whale-tail. You know there’ll be some unexpected maintenance costs but figure you can worry about that down the road. You cruise along in your Porsche as it purrs like a kitten—until it doesn’t. It starts with a strange noise in the engine that lasts for a week and then goes away. You debate whether to investigate or leave it be, and finally assume the problem resolved itself.
When in doubt, it’s always best to have a mechanic take a look, running diagnostics and checking under the hood. You trust this person to identify the problem, how it should be resolved and how much it’ll cost.
Just like a classic Porsche, product development can be fickle. It needs proper care and attention to continue performing at a high level. Yet, all too often we see teams drop their guard, taking shortcuts or skipping out entirely on certain key steps in the process. Once a culture of complacency sets in, it can be tough to reclaim the top flight processes you may have once had. What’s more, without a thorough understanding of high performance and what it requires, you may not even recognize when a team is underperforming.
Higher performance requires better process and collaboration
In her book, “Accelerate,” Dr. Nicole Forsgren’s research demonstrates high-performing custom software development teams not only develop faster, but they also deploy more often and with fewer bugs. On the flip side, a low-performing team can cost you in a multitude of hidden ways. Here are a few red flags that indicate your team is struggling to keep up:
- Slow progress – Missing sprint goals leads to slower development and more variability estimating future sprints.
- Quality – Broken or re-broken functionality at the end of the sprint draws focus away from other work to finish.
- Communication – Lack of clarity in requirements or deliverables takes time away from development and may require rework.
- Management consensus – Low stakeholder engagement and management support leads to team frustration and burnout.
When you can optimize these areas (and others), you can flip your team into a high-performing group that develops better code, faster.
Running the diagnostics
Just as a car mechanic runs through a diagnostic checklist before performing any work, an experienced IT project manager consultant uses a structured methodology to identify and tackle problems. They start by opening the hood and checking out any glaring issues. Next, they pinpoint struggling areas by inspecting the tools used in developing the product. This may include code inspection tools, deployment pipelines, ticket management and scrum processes. All of these are easy areas to jump into and begin reviewing how things are done, and more importantly, how they can be improved.
Identifying areas for improvement is only the first step. It’s easy to check your car’s engine and conclude a big piece is missing. The more difficult part is finding the solution. A mechanic needs to understand a car’s specific make, model and generation to truly identify the issue and its resolution. That’s where a greater expertise is necessary. A senior dev may be able to quickly recognize inefficient code, but you need a senior architect – someone who’s seen it all – to provide the wisdom on how to optimize it.
Finding the right pit crew
How can you sort through the tools, technologies and methodologies available to find the pit crew that’s best equipped to identify your issues, prescribe solutions and implement fixes? Start by seeking a team with multidisciplinary skills, including:
- Software engineers and architects with deep technical system design and building experience
- Business analysts with a deep understanding of the business domain and challenges
- Scrum masters and project managers with an understanding of current best practices for technology development and management
- Cloud infrastructure experts and site reliability engineers with the ability to monitor, maintain and automate technical infrastructure
- Data analysts and data engineers with knowledge of current data tools and technologies, as well as mastery of data analysis techniques
With the right team in place, you can tune-up your organization and start developing like a high-performance machine.
27Global’s Software Project Rescue – “Project Rx” – solution was designed from the ground up for diagnosing, prescribing and remedying projects suffering from a range of issues and impediments. We understand the issues every project faces because we’ve faced them and overcome them ourselves. Let us prescribe and provide the expertise your project needs to save both time and money, successfully delivering your final product.
Alan Hromatko is Senior Software Consultant in 27Global’s Denver office. Founded in 2008, 27Global designs, builds and operates technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. The perfect pairing of a local leadership with offshore pricing, 27Global has the business acumen to understand your vision and the expertise to build your technology solution. To learn more, visit 27Global.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.