Improve Your Software Development and Delivery Times
For software companies today, there are few things more necessary than the ability to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace. It’s no longer enough to have the best software at any given moment in time. To succeed, your company must remain at the forefront of innovation. You need to develop new products that meet the needs of your customers and get your solutions into their hands before someone else does. But software development and delivery can sometimes be difficult to manage in an age where timely responsiveness is critical for success. Fortunately, there are several ways you can improve the development and delivery times of your software solutions.
Set a Baseline
When it comes to business processes, it is nearly impossible to evaluate real improvement unless you have established some baseline for success. Without that benchmark in place, how will you know whether you are making any progress towards your goals? The answer is simple: you won’t know. And the chances are, that you’ll fail to make any serious headway in your efforts. So begin by taking an objective look at your existing software development and delivery processes.
Take time to analyse each step, to refamiliarise yourself with the way in which your company turns software ideas into viable solutions that enhance customers’ lives. There’s a good chance that you will identify at least a few areas of inefficiency in those processes. Once you identify those potential roadblocks, you can work to remove the obstacles and establish the new targets you expect to meet at different stages along the way.
Optimise Your Processes
As important as that process review can be, it will be pointless if you don’t take the steps necessary for optimising your systems. In the software world, efficiency is key. While your first instinct might be to leave your current systems in place, you must resist that instinct if you want to promote positive change. The reality is that your desire to speed up your software development and delivery capacity means that some form of change is needed.
During the assessment, you should try to identify areas of activity that might be slowing down your development – and, by extension, your delivery to market. Leave no stone unturned as you examine every step of the development process to root out these obstacles. Are there poor lines of communication or excessive reliance on unnecessary meetings? Are your teams properly structured, assigned to the right tasks and managed in a way that maximises productivity? Do you have adequate systems in place to track metrics and assess progress at every stage of the development process?
You may quickly discover unneeded redundancies, excessive or untimely documentation efforts, or a host of other factors that add no real value to your development efforts. They create obstacles that impede progress, slowing your ability to complete projects faster. Optimise your process by modifying or removing these steps so that your team can meet your assigned benchmarks more easily.
One thing that can severely hamper your ability to speed up development is an improper testing strategy. As you know, software needs to be tested, debugged, assessed and revisited when needed, to ensure that the product that you take to market meets your customers’ needs. However, it is important to realise that it is not enough to just do the right types of testing. You also need to test at the appropriate time to reduce wasted efforts and keep the project on schedule. That means testing as early in the developmental stage as possible and continuing to test throughout the process.
Testing can help you to identify bugs early so that you can implement the fixes needed to ensure the software’s integrity and effectiveness. Appropriate testing will also help your company meet industry standards, improve customer satisfaction and protect your brand name. Most importantly, it will eliminate bugs that could create unacceptable delivery delays if they were only discovered after the project’s completion.
Some studies suggest that early testing and an emphasis on identifying and fixing bugs before the software’s completion can reduce development time by as much as 25%. Those efforts can also reduce costs and will lead to improvements in your ability to deliver projects in a more timely manner.
To maximise development and delivery speed, you will need to make adaptability a key aspect of your company culture. When your team and systems maintain the right level of flexibility, it is easier to adapt to challenges and overcome obstacles. These types of systemic changes require your company to work to actively avoid complacency. It’s far too easy to get into the habit of assuming that your systems work because they’ve always worked in the past.
Be innovative in your approach to improvements to ensure that you are constantly moving forwards toward greater efficiencies. Never be afraid to introduce new technologies, new processes, and new paradigms as you push the envelope and reduce the systems friction that may be preventing more rapid progress. And don’t forget to get your team on board. Without buy-in across every level of your company, you’ll struggle to execute your strategy for improving delivery times.
If you cannot manage the quick delivery of software solutions to the customers who need it, your company will have a difficult time dealing with rivals in the industry. Today’s customers want software solutions and upgrades on a regular basis, and they don’t typically want to wait to get them. Fortunately for you, your competitors all face the same challenge. If you can harness your systems, adapt to the task at hand, and leverage your resources to focus on improving your development speed, then you can gain an immeasurable advantage over your rivals.