Improving project development

Every software developer is always said to be learning; every day, there are new technologies, new methodologies, modern standards.

But in this continuous learning, there are tons of certifications to demonstrate our ability on a matter with a really good-looking paper. These certifications imply that a minimum effort is taken from some other priority is usually from the project in hand. Employers are often OK with this because having more prepared software engineers will be useful for future projects.

“Training” by ICARDA – Science for Resilient Livelihoods in Dry is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

In our dear Morovia, Mr. T. wasn’t OK with this, his deadline was moved forward to an impossible date, and now it was required to certify all his people in some weird Morovian certification.

And here is the crucial decision as a manager on what is better to prioritize at the moment. Most of the time, training implies a process improvement, but the real questions are:

  • Are they going to benefit the project and organization?
  • Or are they going to hurt it?

The manager needs to look for the best for its people as well for the best of the project, Mr. T. wrote in his diary:

A project can hope to gain enough from a single well-chosen method improvement to repay the time and money invested in the change.

Extracted from The Deadline novel

Process improvement must be a part of the organization but needs to be applied responsibly. There are a bunch of this, and the simul8 page classifies them as:

  • Six sigma: analyzing data to minimize cycle time and defects.
  • Simulation: Modeling the operations
  • Lean Manufacturing: Eliminate business waste
  • Process Mapping: Making diagrams of everything
  • SIPOC Analysis: Document business processes.
  • TQM: (Te quiero mucho en español) Total Quality Management.
  • DRIVE: define, review, verify, execute

These guidelines are usually an excellent way to organize everything. Still, it is essential to remember that not all the time, these are the fastest way to accomplish something. Sometimes they will be a burden rather than help in the short term; the novel defines this danger as:

The danger of standard process is that people will miss the chances to take important shortcuts.

Extracted from The Deadline novel

A good example is in the same novel, where they see the photoshop manual as a well-defined document of functional specifications. They think that for their copy would be a good idea to do the same, instead of writing two documents, write one that works as both. If it has been the case of following the standard, this shortcut couldn’t have been taken.

This is some magic of software development: you can approach problems from different perspectives trying to get the most efficient one.

But if we can not achieve more performance for the current project training the staff, then what can be done?

A particular person Mr. T. meets during his disadventures (the first Morovian Programmer) suggests that the best way to improve their projects’ efficiency would be to cut debugging time.

To achieve this, the solution this individual suggests is to start programming before planning everything on paper. This would be what he defined as a High Performing Team, a team that:

  • Spend proportionately far less of their time debugging.
  • Spend proportionately far more of their time designing.

This team can be defined as a team that designs all the software they are going to develop to the grain, so when they implement it, there are no covered cases and, therefore, less space for bugs.

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