Informing the client about delays in delivery is a hard experience. The talk is unpleasant, and their questions are hard to answer. The client wants to know, when will the promised features be delivered, and how the delay affects the budget. But the most important question is the one you have to ask yourself: what was a real reason for the delay in the project?
There is no worse nightmare than product roadmap delays. They are harmful to the budget, to the relationship with the client, and also to the whole team’s morale. But what many companies do not want to acknowledge is that the delay is usually their fault; or rather the fault of their team management and used technologies.
The reason for delays is neglecting your company’s processes and upgrades.
However harsh it sounds, it is actually good news. You are in control of the situation – you can decide what to do to avoid such situation in the future.
Product companies are dealing with constant pressure to work faster. Such constant chase from one feature to another leaves little time to taking care of the technology environment. And ignoring updates and upgrades always affects your developers’ future work.
First, working with older versions of technologies – for example, a previous version of Java – means shutting down possibilities to benefit from new, faster features, and safer, more compatible environment.
You are not speeding up, this is one problem. But the other is – you are slowing down too. Outdated technologies cost more to maintain – they crash more often, and are harder to fix when something goes wrong. As a result, you are spending more time fixing and maintaining stuff, or forcing it to work, instead of developing it and creating new features. You lose twice.
Of course, the solution is not: upgrade everything. It takes time, effort and money. In the beginning, it may even slow your team down, when they are getting used to the new features. This is why you have to thoroughly consider, what and when to upgrade.
A good idea is to take a step back, look at your technology environment from a distance, and calmly do the math. It also helps if you are up-to-date with the newest technologies.
Misguided team management
Think about the last few months in your company. How many bugfixes your clients asked for? How many sudden requests of changes you handled? How many seemingly important, but not really “core” features you developed at the client’s beck and call?
We bet the answer is: a lot.
An important question is: who took care of those changes? A special team created for handling change request? A team what previously worked with this client and knows their systems? Or a team that is working now on a different product, and has a certain number of features to delivered to meet this product roadmap?
Do you see what I am getting at?
If your team is constantly dropping their current work to take care of sudden clients requests, no wonder the product roadmap is delayed. A day has only so many hours after all.
Luckily, you can do a lot to fix this situation and not let it happen again. The key is to restructure your company processes.
For example, you may decide to adopt Evolutionary Development methods and create a separate stream for dealing with change requests and bugs, and a separate stream for development projects. You can also decide to optimize the whole process of development – by organizing “stabilizing sprint”, where your team decides on priorities, checks what is done and what is not, and resolves all unfinished issues.
You can also let technology help you Think about it: how could migrating your application to microservices speed up development? Would Continuous Development make it easier to work on new features and show them to the client with only one click on the visibility toggle? There are many ways, and it is your decision in which direction you will go.
Be faster and more efficient – you will earn more!
Why should you invest time to audit your company – its technology and processes – if at the same time you could focus on delivering (and working out those delays)?
It is simple – it will pay off.
By using new, stable technologies and optimizing your processes, you will work faster and more efficient. There will be fewer delays because of crashes or bad request management. You will save money by not taking care of costly maintenance. And since your team will work in a better technological environment, and without dropping everything every two days for a new feature for another client, they will deliver on time and generate more revenue than costs.
Not to mention it will be easier to avoid “delayed features” talks with your clients.
What should you optimize first?
Now you are convinced your company needs changes, and even ready to invest time and effort to find out, how to optimize it. What next?
We suggest talking with experts: software engineers and cloud specialists. In that way, you will get the knowledge about the newest technologies and ways to solve processes problem, without having to spend too much time finding information on your own.
Take a part in Great Square workshop – it is free, one-hour long meeting with DSS-Hicron experts, that will take a closer look at your company in four areas: business, technology, processes, and quality. After the meeting, they will give you suggestions considering changes and transformation that can change your company, and make you earn more money in return.
Invest one hour of your time and explore your business possibilities with DSS-Hicron!