For the Win! Setting Developers Up for Success
One of the most challenging things in software development is estimating time and resources required to get software into production. Ironically, accurate estimating is also one of the most important things. This conversation has been ongoing for years.
Distracted employees, unclear requirements, poor communication, software tools that don’t work, weather, competitive recruiters sniping your people, influenza, and the simple fact that software development is largely an art form. These factors make it pretty tough to plan accurately.
At a recent meeting in a sterile conference room in downtown Denver, a manager confessed to me, “The teams don’t care anymore. I have heard the best tech members interviewing for jobs in the conference rooms, and the code they are delivering doesn’t even come close to getting through QA. They get credit for saying it’s done, even though it’s not really done.”
Think about that. Getting credit for saying something is done when it’s not. Isn’t that, shall we say, dishonest?
This is not a great nor sustainable way of doing business and it smacks of poor leadership.
It turns out that making developers work during the weekends when it’s spring in Colorado is demotivating. I get bummed out just writing that. While most professionals are willing to go the extra mile, when unrealistic deadlines get set, and management won’t listen, they lose credibility. Nobody wants to follow a leader like that. It’s uninspiring, unfocused and unproductive.
While estimating can certainly be improved, leadership of the technology team has never been more important than it is today. Your team needs to know you have their best interests at heart. It’s OK to be tough and to ask hard things, as long as your team knows you are engaged and committed to the project – and to them.
Don’t get too depressed here because there are new ways to set more accurate expectations through more analytical forms of estimation. We have a lot of experience with that.
If you think you need some help getting more long-term productivity from your teams, shoot me a note.