Through interviews with dozens of technology executives, Brainspire conducted a research study to find cultural and technical processes and practices that produce the highest return on investment for software development. Below is the second of seven recommendations to enable more effective and higher quality software development:
Key #2 - Collaborate Outside of the Team
Collaboration around ideas, concepts, architecture, tools, and even requirements is an absolute must for effective software development.
It’s surprising how seldom some organizations actually talk and truly communicate between groups. While small teams usually have great collaboration among themselves, the most effective organizations foster collaboration outside of the group. Don’t let your teams operate in silos. They should be working with other teams, and most importantly working with the business. Through effective collaboration, a solution to a problem may have already been addressed by another group. Or perhaps one group is using a new tool that others should be aware of.
Concise weekly collaborative meetings will produce productivity gains, greater accountability and even some healthy competition on software development projects. Impromptu meetings and discussions should also be encouraged. Challenges and successes should be discussed quickly and leadership should listen carefully to hear recurring themes. The group should be allowed to be creative in solving problems, which builds confidence and better overall solutions. There should be a healthy mix of divergent and convergent thinking.
Get out of your office and walk through your developer teams. Listen and observe without an agenda. How are your teams working? Are they communicating or does everyone have their head down? Do you ever see developers discussing concepts or challenges with other teams or with the business? Or are they relying on a Business Analysts, PM or boss to tell them what to do? The best collaboration and ideas usually happen in informal settings. Schedule happy hours or buy doughnuts for everyone to get people together… just to talk. Or schedule an hour per week to collaborate between teams. Make it part of your culture. Just getting people together in an informal session will produce better ideas and solutions through collaboration.