It's a new decade. Time to turn over a new leaf. Time to make those significant changes that you had always planned. We speak to so many software development organizations who have had grand plans to improve the competitiveness of their software development organizations but lack the time, energy and resource to do so. The fact is, most software development organizations over the years have only made minimal, incremental changes to their software development processes and practices. The emergencies of the day always take precedence.
However, even simple improvements to improve the productivity of developers can mean that many more market-winning features. Being able to deliver fractionally higher productivity than the competition can mean the difference for market leadership. Engineering will always be the bottleneck, with a long backlog of desired features. Improving the productivity of that bottleneck provides huge gains to product companies.
So when is the right change to change the wheels on a moving car? This economy has provided a convenient time to retrench. After the drastic cutting of resources, the sluggish nature of the economy has provided an ample opportunity for software development organizations to take a step back and improve the software development process. When the economy turns around, more new people are hired, the market becomes more competitive and the chance to make internal improvements dwindle. With the new decade ahead of us, and the economy still not yet turning the corner, Q1 2010 represents a golden opportunity to make improvements for improved scalability of team and business.
We've met many such companies looking at this time as a way to institute new practices. Software development organizations mired in waterfall are now using this time to move to Agile development. Teams used to doing massive, painful integrations are moving to continuous integration. Organizations used to performing significant manual labor are moving to automation like static source code analysis so that they can squeeze not only more productivity from their employees but also improve the quality of the output. They know changing the wheels now is a lot easier than changing it later.
What do you have to show for the last year and a half of economic woe? Will it have been a time of "sitting on your hands" or a time to wipe the slate clean and make those bold changes that will make your organization a strategic part of the business?
Upper management won't look kindly to a "hold the fort" strategy. If you take the opportunity during this down period to make those impactful changes, you'll be using this time wisely to set yourself up for the inevitable upswing. It's time to take action. Change is hard but the alternative is worse.