Software Development Organizations: Preparing for Life After COVID-19 (Part 2)



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This is part 2 of an essay based on a presentation I am doing Friday, June 5th at 9 EDT (sign-up: I am presenting as part of IFPUG’s Knowledge Cafe Webinar Series. The presentation is titled Software Development: Preparing For Life After COVID-19.

Management guru Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Benchmarking is a tool to identify work that should not be done or done better while continuous improvement provides a structure for improving the opportunities found in the benchmark. There are many approaches to benchmarking and I suggest combining qualitative and quantitative assessments.  The combination is critical for identifying how to improve effectiveness and efficiency. In a post-COVID-19 environment, all of us will need to answer whether how we are working is delivering tangible value in a financially sound manner. If you don’t know the answer to the effectiveness and efficiency questions leaders will be reluctant to spend money on you, let alone large scale improvement exercises. Once you know where you stand then begin to make changes using a feedback loop to know whether or not your experiments are working.

The idea of continuous improvement has been part of the business landscape in one form or another since the beginning of time. As an example, the leaders of the Total Quality Movement of the late 1980s, such as Juran, Deming, and Crosby hammered the need for continuous change home as US business refocused on product quality.  Unfortunately, the continuous process improvement message suffers from two interpretation problems. The first is that process improvement was implemented as a focus on controlling and reducing costs, rather than on increasing process throughput. Secondly, many process improvement programs focused on one big change rather than finding a generalized process that could continuously generate improvement. Finding and implementing a repeatable process requires culture change and long-term thinking, which are hard to implement. Paraphrasing W. Edwards Deming, we will need constancy of purpose to make continuous process improvement payoff, but with that constancy of purpose, we won’t need a single overwhelming change. When I use the term continuous I am urging you to look for ways to improve every day or at least every few weeks and then to address what you find. In agile, for example, Scrum teams use retrospectives to propose and make changes to how they work. The same approach is true for Kanban or Scrumban. Knowing what to change infers that you need a way to collect data and compare it to your benchmark rather than waiting for a large batch data collection and analysis event. 

Any effective approach to assessing an organization or team requires a broad approach that combines

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By: tcagley
Title: Software Development Organizations: Preparing for Life After COVID-19 (Part 2)
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Published Date: Thu, 04 Jun 2020 23:54:44 +0000

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