The software development industry is one that thrives solely on high-speed evolution. Every other day, innovative products and services are brought to the market by companies that are hoping to gain a much-needed edge over their competitors.
However, this comes at a high cost. Firstly, due to the acute shortage of engineering talent, especially in the US and Western Europe, hiring the right workforce is an expensive affair. Their salaries, employee-centric benefits, workspace, and other admin costs amount to over 50% of the fixed costs of running the business. On the other hand, the cost of web and software development services itself is steadily rising.
In such a scenario, it only makes sense that every company takes the necessary steps to improve the efficiency and productivity of their development team. An increase in productivity means that the company can develop high-quality products and services within a defined time period.
So, how can you increase the efficiency of your development team? Let’s put aside project management and different tools for a moment — you’ve probably heard about them a dozen times, at least. Then what other innovative strategies and changes can you implement to ensure increased productivity? That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in this blog post!
1. Provide mentorship & continuous education
A study conducted by Gartner showed that IT organisations across the globe spend over $1 trillion every year on their IT initiatives. Even spending 10% of that amount on training their existing employees can lead to a significant increase in the overall productivity of their software development team!
Many companies expect their employees to learn the latest technologies, skills, and programming languages on their own time and their own dime. However, the fundamental problem is this — they simply do not have the time, money, or even desire to take this upon themselves. The primary reason for this is that experienced developers often grow too comfortable with a specific coding language or technology.
This is where you must step up and promote an environment of learning and exploration, rather than letting your team become stagnant or disinterested. The process of continuous learning will not only introduce you to newer methods and ways of delivering world-class software but will also keep your development team excited and motivated.
Something as simple as internal training sessions, brainstorming sessions, or even learning about the latest tech advancements will not only help your development team expand their skill sets, but may also come of use in a future project. On the other hand, you can also arrange soft-skills training classes once in a few months on skills such as leadership, interpersonal communication, and management. This will make them more efficient in handling a team, sorting out communication issues, and building more productive processes.
2. Minimise unimportant tasks
A study conducted by Stanford University revealed that rather than increasing the number of working hours, reducing the work hours increases productivity. Many would think that the key to higher productivity is to work for 10 hours a day. However, your team would rather efficiently work for 8 hours than waste their time for 10 hours.
Instead of extending the working hours of your development team, find out what tasks are time-consuming. It can be something as simple as answering emails or giving status updates. Then, find ways to reduce or eliminate redundant tasks. Some simple ways to do this include:
- Implement effective meeting management practices in place.
- Make sure that every meeting has an agenda and an action plan.
- Limit the use of email to essential matters only. For instant communication, you can use instant messaging apps such as Slack or Skype.
- Rather than having elaborate meetings at the end of the week, implement standup meetings once a day. It has even been proven that standing actually reduces the overall meeting time by at least 25%.
3. Create a distraction-free environment
Did you know that on average, it takes 25 minutes to recover from a distraction and focus on the task at hand? Depending on your workspace, different kinds of distractions could prevent your developers from working at their full capacity.
In software development, it is proven that a quiet environment increases concentration levels, in turn, leading to an increase in productivity. Organisations that focus on creating a work environment that is favorable to the quality of output rather than the quantity, will enjoy higher rates of production.
While some people can work amongst chatter or noise, others get easily distracted and find it difficult to finish their tasks. When working with remote teams, video-calls and screen presentations are a daily occurrence. The last thing you want is for your remote team not to be able to hear you present an important piece of code because there’s too much noise around them. And that’s why we always give our developers noise-canceling headphones! It might seem like a very trivial change but can make a massive difference in creating a distraction-free environment.
Distractions can also take other forms, such as instant messaging, e-mails, and requests for status reports. The best way to prevent that is to change the way you communicate — use instant messaging and e-mails only for time-critical conversations.
These are some simple strategies that you can implement to increase the efficiency and productivity of your development team.