July 5, 2022

How to transform your bespoke software AND your people at the same time

Software Development Team transformation
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Your people are your biggest asset. And your biggest risk. You’ve got a core group of developers that have been with you for a longtime (possibly since the beginning) and understand the domain, the system and the tech debt that's been created. Because they created it.


They know the business really well, they’re valuable and loyal and you don't want to lose them. But they can’t keep on top of BAU as well as working on new projects (which, let’s face it is the bit they’re really interested in).


On the other hand, your software is out of date and you’re struggling to keep up with endless (and constantly changing) customer requirements. You’ve got the appetite for digital transformation but the tech talent shortage is real. And it’s not going to go away anytime soon. That may sound like tough love but recognising and accepting the huge shortage of talent in the marketplace means you can focus your energy on an alternative solution.


Here’s what we know:

  • There’s an estimated62,000 open development jobs (which is ever increasing)
  • Talented developers skilled in your tech stack won’t want to work on old technologies riddled with tech debt (sorry to be the bearer of bad news)
  • Your team can’t do BAU, up skill themselves and then apply that learning at work all at the same time


So how do you transform your software and up skill teams at the same time?  With empathy, a journey and a partner you can trust. 

1)    Take your team on a journey

Your team need to be able to see a roadmap so they understand where you’re heading and the journey you’re going on together. The roadmap needs to also include plenty of opportunities for your team members to be up skilled along the way. So that you can transform your software as well as your team.


It should be an iterative cycle that looks something like this:


1)   Share clear roadmap

2)   Enter software development partner

3)   Partner team collaborate closely with your team in order to up skill them

4)   Your team develop some stuff

5)   Partner team include your team at every stage (explain how they’ve set up the project and the environment and why they’ve done it in this way)

6)    Your team develop some more stuff

7)   Partner team share more of what good looks like

8)   Your team develop even more stuff

9)   The stuff is done. And your team know how to do it.


When you look after and involve your people in a truly collaborative way, you end up with a loyal, committed team that are domain experts, but also can develop the technology that you need them to.


2)    Balance accountability with empathy  

Keeping good people and giving them opportunities to develop during a digital transformation project relies on direct but empathetic communication.


It’s about balancing accountability with understanding so that teams, partners and stakeholders have the courage to deliver bad news and to hear bad news too. So that  problems aren’t be hidden for fear of the repercussions. Because you can’t do anything about the problems you don’t know about.  


3)    Partner up

Bring in other developers (on a temporary basis) to increase capacity and let your developers learn new tech from them.


It’s the best way for your developers to learn, absorb and grow whilst also getting the job done.


Up skilling your team helps you retain the talent and domain expertise you have, keeps your developers happy and fulfilled (and less likely to leave) and it future-proofs your business too. So take your team on that journey, be empathetic and invest in a partner that will develop your team (without them feeling threatened).  


If you need to transform tech debt without alienating your team, book a 30 minute Call with one of our software development specialists and we’ll give you absolute clarity about your digital transformation project.

Speak to a Software Development Specialist

If you would like to discuss a bespoke software development project, challenge or goal please book a 30 minute Clarity Call with us and we'll point you in the right direction (even if you chose not to work with us)

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