How To Eliminate Waste In Software Development

The tighter the team, the better the outcome. This makes sense for most businesses, but it is uniquely important when it comes to coding software. It being such a technical skill, most people aren’t able to fully grasp the work that is being done. How can you know whether the coders are actually doing what they claim? This is less of a concern if you get regular updates and understand the coding language yourself. But until you have a good understanding of the team you’re working with, what motivates them, and how they work best, you won’t be able to identify where the waste is in the process. Watch our video to get a feel for where to start.

Video Transcript:

Alex: Hello all. As mentioned, I am going to be talking about a few things regarding how to run software projects well. My name is Alex. I am mostly a project manager for Alliance Software. I have been working on a number of our larger projects for the last few years and I also head up our business and delivery systems side. So I work as well as with specific projects, I work with how we run our projects in general and what processes we use and trying to evolve those over time. We’re making a move into larger software projects, so I’m trying to make our systems work with that because obviously you would use different processes to run larger projects versus for smaller ones.

I’m a workflow fanatic. I really love it. Nothing makes me happier than looking at a team of people and a goal that we’re trying to achieve and working out how best to shape a workflow that gets the best out of people in the team and try to get the best outcome for the lowest cost effectively.

We’re going to be talking about a few things today. First of all we’re going to be talking about waste in software development. I’m going to talk about what waste is and why you should really understand waste in the context of your business, whether it is projects or just day to day operations.

I’m going to be talking about software development methodologies, how it is that we do what we do. There are so many different ways you can run a project from small to large and depending on the stakeholders involved, you may need to completely tear up an old process and go with a new one. So I’ll talk about the context that you’re working in and how the methodology you use has a real impact there.

I’m going to be introducing you to a tool called Kanban system. Some of you may be familiar with it, some not. I’m going to be coming from the ground up and talking people through why Kanban is the best tool you can possibly implement in your business, regardless of the business. I have yet to find a single place where Kanban doesn’t have at least some benefit.

Finally I’m going to bring all those together and talk about the perfect project from the point of view of the systems you use, the people involved and what you should strive for.

What is waste? Waste in the context of software development, is any effort that occurs in a project that doesn’t result in a benefit to the customer. Obviously that is in very broad terms. We’re going to go through a number of types of waste but this is our broad definition and looking at specific ways that we can examine waste.

Why do we care about waste? Teams, as individuals, are at the heart of change, rather than a process. If you’re looking at removing waste from your business and from your project, if you focus on waste in your process, it’s something you can change within a week or similar. If you had perfect individuals in a team, if every person were absolutely the best possible person they could be, mastered every skill, then you might only need one person who could run everything flawlessly. That’s obviously not the case.

We have an easier time changing the processes around people and that leads to easier ways to reduce waste in our systems. Waste in software development exists in every system, so the more we can wake up and view waste and learn to see it, the easier it is to start making changes to our systems.

Waste is measurable. Unlike a lot of things, where if you’re talking about people, it’s harder to measure some things about people, but when it comes to waste, you can quantify it in a lot of cases and you can tell when an improvement you’ve made has made a difference or whether it’s made things worse.

Getting to know your team is half the battle to establishing a better process and reducing wasted time and resources. The goal is to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the team you’re working with, and work on a successful strategy that applies to their particular traits. You can get the best from every member of a team, but this is largely going to involve the manager and their ability to hold things together and recognize potential.

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