Product Innovation Trends

Top Frustrations of Software Engineers: Task Mentality

Jessica Davis | February 5, 2014

The following is the second of a five part series excerpted from our whitepaper Top Four Frustrations of Software Engineers. Read the first part here

When you have complete visibility into 
the entire product delivery process, your development team gains crucial efficiencies. Team members are better positioned to know with certainty when each iteration is ready to ship, which results in more accurate scopes of work and delivery timeline estimates.

Like all professionals who take pride in their work, you want the problems you’re tasked with solving to be well defined and clearly articulated before you risk spending significant time developing the wrong solutions.

Even after a product is done, which by definition means “delivered,” you likely expect future changes to delay a product’s true “doneness.” And the surest way to flip your good mood upside down is to hear what you delivered is “almost right,” but that the requirements changed upstream and, “Sorry no one gave you a heads up.”

Far too often those who need to know first are the last to find out. missing-the-moving-target

When product completion is a moving
 target, shifting in the winds of change
 with no timely status updates delivered to those actually doing the work, it’s virtually impossible for any software engineer to know with certainty when a product will ship.

In such a development environment, how can you estimate delivery timeframes with any real confidence you’ll actually meet your deadlines?

You can’t.

So make it clear that the engineering team wants to be included from the start—to gain an early understanding of the customer’s challenges and to begin brainstorming innovative yet realistic solutions. With such early involvement, you gain insight into the problems that need to be solved well before the team begins coding, allowing you to contribute in more meaningful ways toward achieving the product’s ultimate goals.

When effective collaboration becomes an expected component of the product delivery process,
 with all parties empowered to participate at 
the beginning, big-picture context gives you the visibility needed to make logical, accurate assumptions. Downstream software changes are not only anticipated, but also communicated 
to you in real time and openly documented.

But contrary to popular belief, fostering healthy collaboration does not equal scheduling another time-draining, weekly all-hands meeting. It means insisting that team wide involvement occurs from the get-go, with a system in place that allows you to quantify how such proactive, collective participation 
in the development process saves the entire organization precious time later in the life cycle.

Convincing leadership that the engineering team’s Day One participation will dramatically improve the overall process is part of laying the groundwork for a completely new mind- set; one that embraces a fresh approach to vigorous, comprehensive collaboration.

What’s needed next is a tool that helps make this new world a reality; a product delivery solution that not only empowers every engineer to become a fully engaged participant, but also that gives your entire team confidence they’re integral components of a collectively focused unit that delivers truly innovative products.

Read the next part in the series, Top Frustrations of Software Engineers: Endless Rework.

Download the full whitepaper, Top Four Frustrations of Software Engineers & Tips to Avoid Them.