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How can you improve the efficiency of your software development process?

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When it comes to the software development process, productivity is of paramount importance. Productivity depends on how developers can quickly build quality products.

We are quite lucky if we have a talented team of developers who can build high-quality software products with high speed.

It is very difficult to build quality software quickly without a productive, collaborative environment. Fortunately, there are many ways for businesses and teams to keep their productivity and quality up simultaneously.

Why is productivity so important?

Products tend to have a short lifespan in the technology business. Businesses must constantly strive to bring in new software and updates for existing products to stay ahead of the game and meet the needs of the end consumer. Businesses are going to fall behind if they don’t provide output at a rapid speed and ensure what they build is valuable.

Productivity is also associated with quality. It is required to not only work efficiently for businesses but have processes in place to maintain quality.

Ways to make your software development productive:

Access your current position

When we think of implementing real change—that is making our processes more productive—we must access our current position first. Questions like—how does our development team spends its time, what are the bottlenecks faced, etc should be asked.

To start with, we should sit with our team to evaluate their workflow, ask them questions regarding how they utilize their time. The same can be done through the distribution of anonymous surveys to get more clarity on the current state of productivity. The data we gather is very important.

Once we establish our goals, we can move forward in a better way, planning for ways to address problems.

Make clear cut goals

To avoid confusion and chaos, we should clearly communicate our goals to the team as this will lead to improving productivity.

The goals have to be actionable and achievable. Vague objectives without proper measurement will serve nothing—we will not know when we have achieved them and our benchmarks will go in vain without improving productivity.

Take Advantage of tools Available to You

In today’s world, softwares are available for practically any purpose that we can imagine. We can use tools like time trackers which help us manage our time spent on projects and assignments.

There are project management platforms like Trello and Wrike which help to streamline projects and give us and our team insight into how the project is progressing.

Consider Automation

With artificial intelligence and other innovation, many manual processes can now be automated. Rather than replacing humans in the software development process, technology can handle monotonous, repetitive tasks and grant freedom to humans to use their talents and take care of more complex tasks.

Automation is a key part of quality assurance (QA) testing. Professionals create tests and use automation in conjunction with manual testing making the overall process more efficient.

Have an outsourced team

Our in-house team might be quite talented. But when we bring in an outside team, it improves the overall productivity by filling in the gaps in our business. They can, for example, handle certain aspects of the project that our in-house team doesn’t have time to fulfil or can bring new skills into the fold.

This is a good option if we have a small team or missing certain capabilities. We can use an outsourcing partner as and when needed when there is a time crunch or otherwise could use an extra hand.

Measure Productivity

Productivity being a tangible entity is difficult to measure. However, we can evaluate our efforts in certain ways. First of all, we need to access our initial goal to achieve productivity. Over time we will be able to see if we are meeting that goal.

Consider the time spent on the project, the cumulative input, and the output of all team members. But at the end of the day, it is not just about completing a project but also a matter of its quality.

Thus it is always good to establish metrics at the beginning to measure productivity. Not just the time spent, individual efforts and collaboration also matter.

Communicate

Communication is key to a productive environment. Each member of the team should constantly communicate with each other toward their shared end goal.

We have to determine what channels of communication we would like to use. Perhaps Slack can be used for more frequent, casual check-ins, whereas Zoom can be used as the primary platform for large, weekly meetings. Also, there should be a system in place to fulfill emergencies.

Moreover, everyone should be kept in the loop. This is something that is critical for keeping both productivity and morale high.

Deliver Feedback

Team members should know if they are productive on a given job. Here the feedback of a leader plays an important role. Feedback helps them identify areas that need improvement. It also facilitates strong relationship-building—a key part of making an efficient, high-performing team.

A leader should develop ways to deliver feedback both to individuals and large teams. Everyone should receive feedback regularly.

Final thoughts

The above mechanisms help to bring up team productivity and morale. A more productive team and overall business translate to a more efficient, higher-performing software development process. Thus it leads to faster turnarounds, stronger engagement among team members, and better products.

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Gautam Sharma

A VP of sales and partnership at Covrize, Gautam Sarmah has been in the IT outsourcing industry for 12+ years. In addition to his deep industry knowledge, Gautam helps Covrize create go-to-market strategies and Business Development and Operations. At Covrize, Gautam pursues business opportunities across geographical boundaries.