Some disappointing statistics on your software development team performance - Agile Blog - Riter

Some disappointing statistics on your software development team performance

Tired of wasting time and money managing your projects and teams? If your answer is ’No’, you are probably not aware of how much time your team spends inefficiently during each week. Lots of surveys (zeroturnaround, infoworld, activestate, readwrite, sweetcode) show that developers only spend about 25 — 40% of their workday coding. It’s not a secret, however, if you’re not a developer, it could be pretty surprising.

So what else is taking so much time?

  • Waiting for tests/builds to complete
  • Administrative tasks
  • Brainstorming and collaboration
  • Environment management

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Not to mention time sent on debugging, reading and trying to understand already written code.

And that’s normal. The statistics don’t mean that your team is lazy and incompetent (although they don’t exclude such a possibility as well). Many teams and companies are working that way and stay quite successful. With such an approach, your workflow becomes unwieldy and slow but it is also reliable and stable. It allows you to keep everything under control to the detriment of the growth rate and total revenue.

However, if we’re looking for better results for your company, we can achieve them. All we need is to avoid waste of time while staying organized and productive.

There’s nothing we can do with tests/builds time other than upgrading our hardware and software. But the last three items of the list depend on us and our approaches to project management and team collaboration. And they still take up to 40% of our working hours.

Goal: reduce time spent on administrative tasks, collaboration, and environment management

Problem 1. The fact is that all teams use several different apps to combine their team collaboration and project management processes. Often these tools are Slack and Jira. As a result, all discussions are started and carried out in Slack, after that all necessary information must be taken and copied into Jira. So, we not only waste time switching between different environments all the time, we’re doing double work. Moreover, it may be difficult to find something from our previous discussion in the history of messages in several Slack channels and private chats. Especially in a couple of weeks. And we will definitely need to find something in the future.

Solution. Let’s use a single environment for project management and team collaboration. Such a kind of a Slack app integrated with Jira. No need to use many tools — keep all project data together, easily accessible, and well organized. Imagine that each task is a chat room, a place to start a discussion, not just a set of estimates, topics, assignees, and other attributes. Use comments to task to this end. Insist that all discussions of tasks are conducted in your project management tool. It may be difficult at first, but it will save your team much time later.

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Problem 2. Another problem with most of today’s solutions is a high level of bureaucracy. We waste much time filling in numerous tickets, making reports, planning sprints, customizing our workflow and so on. If our software is complex enough, we even need to spend time learning to use all its features.

Solution. What about a simple software that’s ready to use at once, without any extra steps required? With an optimal configuration and all basic features available by default? Additional functionality for any specific needs can be used with help of plugins — but only if you really want to see it there. Of course, full-featured API must be also present. In addition, all existing features and capabilities must be optional and as flexible as possible. Only you decide how to use this or that feature, and whether to use it at all in a particular case. Make your project management tool adjust to your workflow, and not vice versa. Avoid unnecessary bureaucracy when it’s possible.

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Problem 3. Last but not least problem is wasting time on meetings, stand-ups, and other collaboration. According to The Muse, meetings can take about 35 — 50% of the manager’s working hours. A little less if you’re a developer. Sometimes we can’t avoid a meeting, but the use of a really collaborative task management tool could reduce time.

Solution. Transparency and maximum independence of the software used. You don’t need to hold an extra meeting if your team collaboration tool is convenient enough to discuss everything there and if the current states of your projects are clear enough from your project management tool. Open project statistics and intensive discussions inside tasks, visible and up-to-date project state and progress allow to achieve general awareness and prevent unnecessary questions which can be rather distracting. Independence of each developer allows them to perform certain task management actions on their own, without constant alignment and participation of managers. At the same time, all their actions should be transparent and traceable if their managers wish to keep control over the team.

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If your project management tool doesn’t provide you such features, you can try Riter instead. It was designed to meet all these principles and can greatly improve your life: