CARE FOR YOUR CRAFT

Have you ever met a Software(s) Developer who promised Heaven and delivered hell? Or are you one of those Software Developers who over promise and under deliver? I recently went to a workshop that was held at ihub UX lab and got a few tips on how to mind your craft so that as a team of Developers you can be able to deliver something that the client will be happy with. “Give your value get your money”. Most times we do it vise versa.

We were given a case study of a Consulting start-up that was started by two best friends, Francis and Livingstone. At its initial stage, they were doing so well and grew at a very first rate but at the end of the third year they started experiencing critical problems.

They were

  • Constantly having to apologize to clients because of missed deadlines. Remember “Don’t over promise then under deliver”.
  • Unable to deliver the projects on time.
  • Unable to leverage all employees effectively, specifically overlap of roles,constant claim of “That’s not my job”
  • Constantly having to apologies to clients because the applications they built were heavy and slow
  • Constantly having to do a lot more work than what they agreed on in the contract, without an increase in the budget.
  • Their final straw came when 2 of the companies that had contracted them cancelled their contracts simultaneously and a 3rd was also on the verge of doing the same

If you can identify with the above problems, take a deep sigh because Haraka consolatancy realized the problems they had and came up with solutions that helped their company pick up again. The problem that Livingstone through the help of Jane who was an intern but had interned with a fairly successful software company before joining them were

  1. While being innovative, completed projects without a roadmap or a project plan and lacked a disciplined approach to project management.
  2. Francis and Livingstone did not use any project software for scheduling and they did not use tools or techniques to estimate, budget or to communicate with stakeholders.
  3. Their development process was haphazard.
  4. There were no tools for version control, no frameworks, no sort of standards for software development within the organization.
  5. They had no process in place to manage project risks and quality.

The solution to the problems were:-

  1. Livingstone offered Jane a position of a PM on a full-time basis to help manage their current  crisis which she accepted. Jane is an excellent communicator with very good interpersonal skills and detail oriented. I found this to be the qualities of a good PM.
  2. Jane introduced formal project management processes, created a PM manual and trained the employees to get the work done well
  3. Came up with guidelines on how development should be done and the quality of code .

The result of these

  • Within 9 months Jane had turned things around. Due to proactive risk analysis and risk response planning, surprises and issues reduced
  • Communication with stakeholders was enhanced
  • Projects were being delivered on schedule
  • Quality process worked and customers were happy!

The Key take away for me were

  1. Economics doesn’t exceed productivity. Take what you can handle. It’s good to say Yes or No to projects.
  2. In a team there should be role differentiation and how the roles play with each other in the organization as a whole.
  3. Empathy is Key. Sometimes in a team one need to fit into the role of another person to be able to deliver quality and on time.We need to know that we rely on each other for the company to succeed. It is also good for one to stretch themselves in order to be world class developers
  4. System structure and processes is important when starting a business. This ensures one is consistent
  5. Knowing the strengths and the weakness of the team is key. In this comes group dynamics. Despite the differences in a team, the most important thing is, work with those you are friends with.
  6. Software needs continuous integration.
  7. Building timelines need one to know in and out of the system methodology the company is using
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