Software development has become a very important tool for businesses that want to tackle various challenges while remaining innovative at the same time. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology, businesses have turned to have their own software development teams which develop software for internal or external use. One of the most persistent challenges for software development and the teams and businesses involved in ensuring the development process does not get stuck. The good news is that there are several things that businesses can do to ensure their development teams thrive.
Give the Team Clear Direction
Nothing kills a team’s productivity and motivation faster than not having a clear sense of direction. Software developers want to know what they should be doing at any one time as well as the goals, objectives, and deadlines they are supposed to be trying to hit. Without a clear sense of direction, people slack off because they do not see the tasks in front of them as urgent or beneficial to the bigger goal.
While it is true that productivity can be affected by several other factors such as the emergence of disruptive technologies and market conditions, teams that have a clear sense of direction often have higher productivity, better outcomes, and create more value than teams that do not.
Encourage Out-of-the-box Thinking
Incorporating and encouraging the use of new technologies, frameworks and libraries can be difficult for some teams. However, some teams have been doing things the same way for so long that they have become stagnant and the members disinterested.
Encouraging and promoting environments where members of a software development team are encouraged to explore new ways of solving problems, be it through using new technologies or thinking differently about problems, can make them more engaged and interested, and can help increase productivity. New ideologies, technologies as well as ways of thinking and solving problems will lead to innovative thinking and problem-solving which will lead to excited, motivated, and more productive software developers.
Use Software Development Methodologies that Encourage Continuous Feedback
Feedback is extremely important in the software development life cycle (SDLC). Receiving feedback early or at the right time helps development teams incorporate changes that are necessitated by the feedback, improve their output, and create additional value. With many development teams using at least one software development practice, processes such as continuous builds, integration, deployment, and automation testing become important sources of feedback.
Additionally, regular meetings with all stakeholders as well as product showcases internally and externally can provide opportunities for feedback. Embracing these factors and combining them with the right SDLC methodologies for individual teams can help increase productivity.
Some of the more common SDLC methodologies that help provide feedback at all, or almost all, stages of software development include agile, prototype, iterative development models, and scrum, itself an agile framework that seeks to improve upon agile basics.
Virtasant, a company that helps businesses take advantage of everything the cloud has to offer, has a detailed guide on these and other SDLC methodologies that businesses and software development teams can use to enhance productivity. Virtasant uses proprietary technology, decades of cloud expertise, and various models and tools to help businesses get the most out of cloud technology while keeping their costs low. They also provide cloud optimization, management, and migration for businesses that need it.
Avoid the Sunk Cost Fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy is where someone continues an endeavor or task just because they have already spent time, money, or other resources on it. The thinking is that so much has been used up by the endeavor or task that it would be wasteful to stop pursuing or wanting to complete it.
Software development teams should be encouraged to not obsess over a tool, service, convention, or process if it is either not working as they think it should or it is causing issues within the team or with the development process. Just because the task or endeavor was started with good intentions, does not mean that it is wrong to abandon it, at least for some time, until a working solution can be found.
Developers can get frustrated when something is not working as expected and this is what leads to the sunk cost fallacy. Instead, all members of the development team should be taught to be adaptive and flexible. Installing time and resource limits while encouraging developers to think differently can lead to creativity and eliminate the blocks that are causing tasks to not be completed. Moving on, at least for some time, will help developers and your business avoid this fallacy.
Work Flexibility Can Be What the Team Needs
As we have seen over the last year or so, challenging traditional norms of work and productivity can be very rewarding. This is with the understanding that everyone works differently and that everyone can be productive if they are in an environment that encourages them to be instead of hindering them.
Flexible developer hours lead to happier developers which leads to increased motivation and productivity. Working in environments that suit them best allows developers to focus and concentrate more deeply because there are fewer distractions. It also allows developers time to think and get away from mentally challenging tasks for some time which is a great way of reducing frustration.
Lastly, flexible developer hours mean that developers can work with less pressure. A relaxed mind works best when it is not forced to focus on maintaining high productivity levels for 8 hours straight. As long as developers meet deadlines, there is a need to see if flexible hours would work for your team.
Every software development team works differently but the one thing everyone agrees on is that businesses must try to find ways to encourage their developers to be more productive. Productivity improvement is a journey and with continuous testing and improvement, businesses can see a massive jump in productivity. Not every strategy will work for every software development team out there, but it is worth incorporating some of these strategies to see how they work for your team.