Whether you’re part of an IT company, or an IT department in a larger company, you probably face some challenges finding and retaining good talent. It’s a competitive industry, and any talented developer has options. Obviously, a good salary and benefits are a plus, but if you’re competing against other companies that also understand this, how do you stand out? Here are a few suggestions.
Make sure they have the tools they need to do their job.
Make sure developers have all of the information they need to do their job and make sure they have it early enough in advance that developers can plan and prepare for each project. This requires strong communication and involvement of the development team at each stage of the process as a new project begins. Also, a good project manager can be important in helping to keep things organized and ensure that the development team understands requirements and expectations. One of the things that often slows down the process and frustrated developers is a disconnect between the project’s instigators- either internal or external- and the team that is going to be building the product.
Listen when they tell you there isn’t enough time.
Sometimes business expectations and timelines don’t line up with the reality of how long it will take to get the work done. The best thing to do is to ask the lead developer for a timeline before any information is provided to the client- let the head of the team that is doing the work tell you how long the work is going to take. If you’re concerned that they might be padding the numbers to give themselves more time- first consider that it’s a good idea to allow some time for the unexpected. If you still want to confirm the timeline, get a second opinion, but you’ll eventually get a sense for when that lead is being conservative or liberal in their time estimate. Depending on the developer, it’s usually consistently one or the other. Track how estimates line up over time and adjust future project timelines accordingly.
Understand that building software isn’t always a predictable process.
It’s impossible to know exactly how long a piece of software will take to develop. That doesn’t mean a team has no idea how long it will take, but if they’re being reasonable they’ll likely give you a window. There’s a reason for that. Software development is building something from scratch that the developer likely hasn’t built before; that means they can have a general idea of what the time frame will be, but they may encounter challenges, or a part of the build may take more time than they realized. Even the most talented developers are unable to pin down exactly how long something will take.
For this reason, it’s best to set timelines in terms of a window and to allow for extra time between projects to make sure that if something takes longer than expected, deadlines aren’t being missed. The stress that comes along with an impossibly high deadline can be very difficult for a development team.
This advice seems simple enough, but it can have a strong impact on the day to day for an IT professional. In the end, everyone wants to like their job. They want to feel like they have met and exceeded expectations, that they are being appreciated for the work they’re doing, and that they are contributing to a company’s success.
At Grata, we know how to assemble or support a team that builds quality software, on time and on budget. We believe that open communication, combined with strategy and good planning, can make for a smooth development process that results in exactly what is needed. Contact us today to talk about your project or to learn more about our consulting services.