For any given scope of work, defining what needs to be built it an important first step, however ultimately its an underlying principle which really continues through the whole scope’s duration. Once a development process is able to embrace change, the team can move faster and more predictably. This Agile process not only encourages feedback on written code but the very process used to implement that code. By maintaining an awareness of opportunities for improvement on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly schedule, the rate of improvement becomes an exponential curve instead of linear.
The key to unlocking exponential process improvement is planning and documenting. A team or team member is going to work through these questions at some point during the development process, it may as well be in a methodical way towards the beginning of a scope of work while adjustments can still be made based on all the information available. This plan and set of documents aren’t written in stone though, they are a set of living records when will evolve over the course of the scope of work. If you begin expecting to have all the answers already, you’ve already lost.
With an enhanced velocity, a development team should focus on what they do best. Anything that can be automated or delegated should be, this includes any manual testing or deployment procedures. Not only will human prone errors be prevented, but time can then be further spent on providing value by creating and maintaining code.
Once all of these elements are in place, true long term vision can be entertained. A team’s velocity paired with effective estimates from technical managers can result in real long term project planning, also known as a product roadmap. This term is thrown around typically like a to-do list, however a talented team can estimate when they be able to cross these, potentially, 3 years worth of items off the list within a window of weeks. Things will change along the way, and deadlines will be adjusted, but this level of planning will indicate what is possible to accomplish, when it may be time to hire more resources, or train into new skill sets.
There is very much an art and science to curating a development process. With the number of new projects we get to embark on, we constantly refine this process for ourselves to achieve the most effective outcome with the most flexibility along the way. We’ve been fortunate to share these discoveries with some of our partners to teach them the pursuit of becoming the best team they can be.
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