As software permeates every aspect of our daily lives, more software is needed to support our society’s ever increasing needs. For the manager or executive overseeing software-heavy projects: it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Missed commitments, defective software releases, and almost never ending user satisfaction issues seem to be the norm. To move ahead of your competition you must help your software team understand what they do and how they do it. Once they understand their software development performance, they are able to improve their performance to unprecedented levels. Your profits will follow.
If you feel overwhelmed by your software development concerns, you are not alone. Study after study points out that the vast majority of software projects are late and/or over budget. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Problems. Almost every software organization has one or more of these problems:
- Missed commitments,
- Missed opportunities,
- Defective software releases,
- Low customer satisfaction,
- Economic loss or low profits,
- High staff turnover,
- Low morale in the development team.
Solutions to these problems are available, but they may not be obvious. I believe that the cause of many of these problems is that most individuals and organizations don’t understand their software development performance.
Why is understanding your software development performance so important? Because if you do, you can make commitments that you can keep. If a developer can keep her commitments then her team can keep its commitments. In turn the organization can keep its commitments to the users and partners.
Evidence suggests that developer performance can vary by at least an order of magnitude. If you understand what factors influence software development performance then you can lead your developers at all levels of ability toward improved performance.