Keeping your software solutions fit for purpose
Change is continuous, businesses need to evolve, technology moves on, ignore it at your own peril.
Every business must cope with not only changes relating to digital technology but also to changes in the market place and regulations that come into force. Some of these can be controlled while others are well outside of your control. An example of this is GDPR compliance which is affecting most European based businesses.
In this article, we will focus on the smaller jobs that are within your control. Small jobs that keep your software solutions up to date and relevant to your business. We will cover the maintenance and continuous enhancements work stream as described in the last article "How do you keep control of your software development?"
Are some of these problems familiar to you?
The backlog keeps filling up
The ripple effect, small problems become waves of discontent
Even the small jobs need to be structured and prioritised, here are a few indicators that you do not have the right processes in place.
Are you having an excessive number of bugs reported?
Software development is a team effort and each person in the team needs to do their job right. For a well-structured and lead team there should be virtually no defects. Your testers primary role is to validate that everything works properly. If you are getting defects make sure that you identify the root cause.
Here are a few examples of root causes to defects:
Keep your software solutions up-to-date and meet business needs
Would you like to:
How useful will it be to you if you can speed up the throughput of development work by 150% to 200%? How important is it to your business that your customer services team are able to attend to customer enquiries; without delays due to technical issues? What would be the benefit to your operational departments if they could, with confidence, rely on forecast delivery dates from the development department? Can you see any other benefits to your business having an effective and efficient delivery mechanism that takes care of all your technical/software needs?
Software development teams that solve problems and add value
The good news is that it is not so difficult to deliver great solutions at a reasonable cost if you structure the work correctly.
To deliver value consistently we recommend that you break down the work to be done into the smallest possible delivery that will add value. You can then prioritise each of those small jobs based on their value to the business.
Sorting each job into one of 3 to 5 classifications will help in keeping a balance between maintenance and new money generating features. At the same time focusing your energies where they are most needed. We recommend you start with the following classifications then tailor them to suit your team:
Structure your work using a Kanban board
Effective communication is also a key component for both defining the work that needs to be done and then managing the work. The illustration above is often referred to as a Kanban board and you use this simple approach to prioritise the work that needs to be done in the backlog, and monitor the work in progress.
Each of the tickets you see on the Kanban board illustration above will fall into one of three categories of work. Each of the categories usees a specific pattern for describing what needs to be done:
Our partners have found that by taking these steps they have been able to:
The maintenance and continuous enhancements work stream is a key component in your toolbox for managing software development in your business.
Learn more about these and other software development topics to improve software delivery
We will follow up on this article with more detailed information on the project workstream in mid February. In addition to this article we will blog about metrics, quality control, risk management and other important topics in the future.
If your company is involved in building and maintaining its own software, or you think you need to take greater control over the development and maintenance of software, please feel free to contact us for help and advice.