In software development, companies are often in a rush to speed up projects and rush them to the market. The high demands placed on employees have been known to lead to burnouts as many are unable to cope with the persistent pressures.
Companies that follow this approach tend to have a high turnover of staff. A high rate of departures can be bad for business as it takes time and money to acquire and train up new talent. There is also the problem of attracting good talent as companies with a reputation for overworking staff are not appealing to work for.
Let’s look at strategies that can help you get more out of your local software development company without losing them due to burnout and lack of job satisfaction.
Optimize Team Size
There is often the temptation to add developers to a team to see increased productivity. It can take many months to train up new team members, forcing those that are already up to speed to be distracted from the core goal. This can lead to a failure to meet deadlines.
With too many team members it can also become more complicated to coordinate tasks. Meetings will take longer and non-essential activities that little or no value will get on the agenda.
If growing the team is necessary, consider breaking them down into smaller cross-functional groups. Give them some autonomy to develop their strategies on how to meet targets and you should see better progress.
Promote Acquisition of Skills
The more experienced and knowledgeable a developer is, the more easily they can get simple tasks done and resolve complex problems. Newer developers can work their way up to this point with a little encouragement. Arranging for them to attend peer conferences, take up educational courses, mastering the latest software developing tools, or even setting up a learning library they can tap into are good ways to achieve this.
Be sure to recruit employees with curiosity and a passion for learning. Self-motivated individuals will naturally seek to improve their skills and knowledge without having to be pushed into it.
There is a balance to be struck when looking to reduce complexities in software development. Complex systems can be difficult to add features to and identify and fix bugs. However, taking shortcuts can sometimes lead to technical debt. This means that software that is poorly and quickly coded is sent to the market faster will often develop complex problems in the future.
Cowboy coding can also contribute negatively as some team members seek to create shortcuts that will move a project forward as fast as possible without adhering to development process norms.
Setting reasonable deadlines is a good way to give developers enough space to work out bugs as the project progresses. Ensuring a good presence of skilled developers who know how to create less complex systems and can guide novices is also ideal. This should also make the eventual technical debt more manageable.
Rework cannot be avoided, but it can be minimized. Spotting and fixing bugs quickly is important. The longer they exist the harder and more expensive they become to resolve. Developers that did the coding are best capable of finding and fixing bugs as their memories are fresher. Using suitable sw development tools can improve workflow, debugging and productivity.
Clarity on specifications can also help developers strategize on solutions, reduce bugs and rework. Clearly defined requirements can also help get all the team members on the same page. Holding meetings to discuss the development will ensure everyone has a clear picture of what is expected and what direction to take.
Liaise with Customers
To find out if your product is fulfilling customer expectations, you will need to communicate well with the customer. This communication should begin right from the start of development. This will provide your developers with better information for improved designs, development, implementation, and testing. With better clarity comes faster speed of development.
Even at the end when testing or publicly launching the software, customers should be provided with an easy means of sharing feedback. This can be through mediums like social media, reviews, surveys, and even email. This will be useful in adding new features and fixing bugs.
Working with complex systems and models is intense work and even a minor distraction can cause serious delays and costly mistakes. Ensuring your developers maintain focus throughout the development process is vital. This can be achieved through developing dedicated workspaces that allow software development teams closer proximity for communication and information sharing. During particularly complex work, encourage your developers to go offline to avoid disruptions. Also, encourage them to focus on a single task to completion before moving on.
Avoid Distractions During Sprints
Sprints are periods that require full focus from developers to meet short deadlines. During this period, ensure that activities that add little or no value to the software development projects are avoided at all costs. Keep meetings to a minimum and only when there is a relevant agenda to be addressed. Advise your developers to pause any side projects and focus on the job at hand.
Promote A Healthy Lifestyle
Overworking can cause a lack of focus and lead to burnout. While you want your developers focused, keep the working hours reasonable. Ensure they have enough time for rest. This will allow them to recharge and come back to work refreshed and eager to get back to work. Let them have regular free weekends and reasonable vacation time. Your employees are more likely to enjoy their work-life when they feel their personal life is not being infringed upon.