As the leader of an organization, why do you want to ensure the efficiency of your development team? The easy answer is so that they can be as productive as possible, but there is a lot more to the story! Development team efficiency and productivity matter for a variety of reasons, beyond just general code output.
Why care about the efficiency of your development team?
What are some of the reasons why you must care about how efficiently your development teams work? Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors in play.
Business Performance – It goes without saying, but when you have an efficient development team, you are going to see better business performance. The initiatives will stay on time, and satisfaction levels and engagement will be high.
Reduction of Burnout – You want your developers to be positive about their working environment and have a high level of engagement. To reduce burnout, you must be sure you are operating efficiently.
High-Quality Products – Your software development teams need to focus on quality. To create high-quality products, having efficient processes enables better checks and balances. With sound knowledge, processes, and execution, higher quality shines through.
Ways to increase efficiency
Now that we know the importance of increasing the efficiency of your development team, let’s dig into some of the ways to achieve it.
1. Ensure your team has all the information
One of the best ways for your software development team to increase efficiency is to ensure they work with all essential information. Have you ever tried to build something where you do not know what the end product is supposed to look like?
Alternatively, try to follow a set of instructions that has 20 steps, but is missing steps 12 through 16; the results will likely be inefficient progress and rework. The efficiency of the development team weighs heavily on the information they rely on to build products.
2. Help your team get into the flow state
To achieve peak efficiency, you want your development team in a flow state. Once they come together, they enter team development stages including forming, storming, norming, and performing. These stages in team development should lead them to perform in a flow state where they have such a high level of engagement and satisfaction, their attention is locked in.
To assist in achieving the flow state, work with the team to ensure they have needs met, their work environment is satisfactory, they have initiatives that engage them, and so on. To help development teams get to that flow state, it will take incremental progress, consistent coaching, and development, as well as a need to improve continuously. It is one thing to get to the flow state, but a whole different thing to stay there.
3. Have short meetings
Research has shown that during the first 15 minutes of a meeting, 91% of folks are paying attention. That drops dramatically over time. No one wants to sit in endless eight-hour meetings talking about requirements, development needs, and so on. Short, incremental bursts of information help development teams stay with a high level of engagement. Keep meetings with the development teams bite-sized, delivering exactly what they need in pieces that they can accomplish.
As the short meetings see the execution, ensure the information delivery ties to the higher level vision to keep engagement up.
4. Believe in the power of good documentation
Documentation is king when it comes to software development. Ever play a basic game of phone tag? When a stakeholder asks for something, and there is no documentation to capture the initial ask, it will get lost or misunderstood over time. That stakeholder may talk to a product manager, tech lead, and then developers. Without documenting the initial task, there will be misses leading to technical debt and the need for rework. To achieve high levels of efficiency, believe in clear and measurable documentation.
5. Foster healthy habits
Efficiency does not mean that the development team works 60 hours every week and achieves a high level of output. That type of habit will lead to burnout, high levels of turnover, and organizational issues in time. You need your development teams to create healthy working habits. Have the development team or teams come up with norms that everyone agrees to follow, including common working hours, meetings, communication methods, etc. Make sure there is a healthy work and life balance as well, so the team can bring their whole self to the task daily.
6. Give them productivity tools like development platforms
Productivity tools are also critical as they can help to automate and simplify many of the manual processes development teams endure. Many development platforms exist, but it is critical to choose one that is going to suit your development teams’ styles. Productivity tools can help with workflow, communication, documentation, and most importantly generate value for the clients.
There is no such thing as reaching the peak efficiency of a development team, calling it a success, and walking away. You need to have a continuous improvement mindset where, incrementally, you are achieving gains one step at a time.
To make your development teams more efficient, it must be a main mission in your role as CTO and leader. We have put together these tips to help achieve efficiency gains, but the key is to never settle and keep it as a priority for the long haul!