What defines a good software developer? Is this the one who works fast or the one who delivers high-quality results no matter how much time it takes?
Frankly, it is much more than just the two metrics that make a good programmer. A whole bunch of things defines the performance of software development and predefines the future success of a digital solution. Hence, knowing the main tricks to turn yourself into a coding wizard is mandatory for the overall possibility of good achievements.
Without further ado, let’s discuss the best approaches to scaling your performance in software development. You are going to learn how to transform yourself into a coding ninja that every company dreams about and ready to pay any website development costs.
10 Ways to Scale You Software Development Efficiency
Software development performance is one of the main aspects that influences the overall success of a developer within a company or project. Abiding by the set timeline, delivering results of high quality, and being one step ahead of the competition is a tough task that requires a complex approach.
Usually, the factors influencing the programer’s performance are diverse. Still, it is possible to specify the main approaches to maximize it:
- Clearly defined project vision and goals
- Collaborative work and complex approach
- Focus on the solution’s core functionality
- Divide work in sprints to maximize productivity
- Minimize unimportant tasks
- Set a distraction-free environment
- Track sprint burndown
- Spot and fix bugs early
- Tools that enhance productivity
- Know more than just coding!
Below each of the points is explained in more detail and provides a comprehensive picture of software development performance optimization tactics.
1) Clearly Defined Project Vision and Goals
Coding without defined project goals is like roaming the sea without a final destination, resulting in low performance and burned hours of useless coding. One of the main secrets of successful software development is clearly defined vision and set goals.
Without a clear vision, it is almost impossible to deliver the results needed. The issue becomes especially critical when you are working on the same project together with a team. When everyone is up to date on the progress of the projects and knows in which direction it moves, they are able to achieve a consistent development process and bring higher results.
When it comes to goals, they should be SMART, which translates them into being:
Aside from understanding the software goal and its functionality, it is important to determine which technical skills are needed to implement the project.
Then, breaking down each bigger feature into smaller subtasks makes it more achievable. Some tasks can be shared with other programmers or delegated to the engineer with proper technical capabilities. The combination of the above steps guarantees that the results will be delivered on time and will be of high quality.
2) Collaborative Work and Complex Approach
When working on a project, it is important to follow the collaborative approach. Even if you are working alone, the power of collaboration should not be underestimated. Asking for help when you need it and assisting others when you see they have encountered a problem is a road to success.
When asking for help, make sure you provide all the information that will tell on which step you have stumbled and what you have done to overcome the difficulty.
When helping others, developers improve their own skills, level up logical thinking, and the ability to approach problems from different angles.
3) Focus on the Solution’s Core Functionality
There is no doubt that software development is a complex process that consists of different stages focusing on the implementation of various features. At the same time, every complex solution starts with the first version that does not have all the features of the full-fledged solution. It is important to focus all the efforts on a specific problem and the core functionality in the beginning.
What is more, research by Standish Group states that only 20% of the app’s functionality is mostly used, while the rest is not that important. Therefore, you should aim your development efforts at these features, especially if you are working on the first product version. Its purpose often lays in testing the grounds on the software market and identifying whether the next versions of the app will have a chance for success. This way, it is possible to gradually build up software, moving from simple features to more complex ones.
4) Divide Work into Sprints to Maximize Productivity
Working in sprints is one of the best ways of ensuring an uninterruptible development flow. By dividing the time of development into small periods, being called sprints, you will be able to plan time more efficiently for the whole development process.
You can achieve the needed working environment by utilizing different types of project management methodologies, for example, Agile. Once working in sprints, it is much easier to measure the performance and adjust tasks accordingly for the following sprints.
One of the best ways of ensuring consistency is by avoiding non-relevant work, such as the implementation of features of minor importance and concentration on tasks that do not directly contribute to sprint tasks. This approach is not about multitasking. It is about being concentrated on key activities to achieve great results.
5) Track Sprint Burndown
If the company you are working in supports the Agile environment, it is important to remember about accountability. Sprint burndown is a metric to consider, as it provides insight into your productivity throughout the whole sprint. Many companies use this metric not only to track how developers perform but also to identify any problems with tasks management and assignment.
Usually, Agile sprints are two-weeks long, however, depending on the complexity of the product and feature being developed, sprints can be adjusted accordingly. That is why some teams can work in longer sprints while for other shorter ones will serve better.
Sprint burndown is used to measure how many of the planned tasks were completed during a sprint. Agile burndowns show the progress in small parts instead of showing the progress in regards to the whole long-term project. This way, it requires much less time for you to see the real results of your efforts.
Many developers often face the problem of sprint burndown. When this happens, you have a few possible options. You can let your project manager know that you’ve encountered a problem and need more time to deliver some results. Try to explain the problem in detail, describe what you’ve done to solve it, or even ask for help from your colleagues.
Quite often missed deadlines indicate that the set tasks and expectations overcome the capabilities of the software development team. Based on the result, your managers will be able to adjust task density in future sprints.
6) Minimize Unimportant Tasks
Meetings are the main time-eaters. Consider each minute you spent in a meeting as the time when you are not doing what is really important for software development performance. According to Highfive research, unnecessary meetings waste more than $37 billion every year.
While there are instances when meetings are a necessity, they should be approached pragmatically. To make every meeting more productive, you can follow the below advice:
- Minimize the number of meetings.
- Set a time limit for each meeting.
- Prepare and stick to the defined agenda.
- Agree on the exact action plan at the end of each meeting.
In an Agile environment, meetings are held at the end of each sprint to set the plan for the following one. This way, together with your team you will know the plan of action and which results are expected.
7) Distraction-Free Environment
The working environment has one of the highest impacts on productivity. Distractions can easily ruin it as it takes about 25 minutes to get focused again, which means a lot of lost time. Creation if a distraction-free environment is essential.
There are different kinds of distractions, like open space offices, temperature, light, air, etc. Still, the most dangerous distraction today is the constant flow of notifications.
Hence, it is important to allocate time when you are offline and nothing distracts from tasks at hand. Being offline for an hour or two every day will not have an impact on communication. But it can make a huge difference for your productivity flow and increased focus. Just be sure to let your colleagues know that you are in the concentration mode and don’t want to be disturbed.
Similarly, multitasking is mistakenly considered as a way of increasing productivity while, in fact, it has a negative impact. That’s why you should try to concentrate on a single task instead of scrambling between them trying to address all of them at once and wasting your time.
8) Spot and Fix Bugs Early
Software development is closely associated with bugs. They inevitably arise during software development. While nothing can save form them, it is important to implement a system that will help to spot them early in the development process and address them right away.
Debugging is usually a long process of fixing an incorrect code, which could be otherwise spent on development. By implementing preventative practices, it is possible to reduce the number of bugs and the time needed for their fixing. Automated testing units are one of the possible solutions that will help provide a high quality of code without huge time wastes.
9) Additional Tools to Enhance Productivity
Being an efficient developer requires using a whole set of tools, each with a different purpose.
Time management tools provide an insight into how much time is spent on each task, which helps with further planning and allocation of resources. Such solutions often present data in the format of an interactive dashboard, where each member of the development team can track the progress of others and the stage there are on.
At the same time, there are tools that directly influence software development performance. A great example is development libraries for specific programming languages and development frameworks. Their introduction into the development process helps to avoid writing code from scratch.
It is possible to use already written and tested parts of code to implement certain features. This way, you can minimize the time needed to deliver a solution, thus reducing the final costs of development.
It is important to always search for new tools. Development components can be organized into a powerful toolbox. Combined with the knowledge of their use and experience, they become a driving force for many software products, especially at the early stages of development.
Here are a few performance boosting tools you can use:
|Jira||Plan, track and manage software development projects.|
|Slack||Communicate with colleagues and keep information on hand.|
|Airtable||Create spreadsheets, organize and store data.|
|Marker||Let customers and colleagues report bugs.|
|Pocket||Find useful information and save for later.|
|Calm||Start your day with meditation, keep calm and do more.|
10) Know More Than Coding
There is no doubt that software developers should be skilled in the latest technology and know all the ins and outs of its use. While the knowledge of programming languages and best development practices is important, the software development performance and its success also depend on other aspects.
Knowing the insights of the industry a software product is being developed for plays a huge role in the efficiency of the development process. You should be educated in the specifics of the industries you are creating solutions for and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.
In addition to getting a better picture of the environment in which the product will be used, it also provides an insight into the clients’ businesses and their specific needs, allowing you to provide better solutions.
In such a way, you will be able to use a complex approach when each feature is created having a final goal in mind. Moreover, it has a long-lasting effect and results in returning customers and even gaining the title of the leader in a certain software development area.
Concluding Thoughts on Performance Maximization in Software Development
Software development performance is defined by many factors that can either bring it up or scale down. Luckily, the tried and tested methods can ensure high performance, measurable results, a constant stream of delivered features, and overall efficiency of development efforts.
The below plan of action covers the main aspects of the process of improving the development efficiency and can be used by individual developers, those being a part of a group, or someone supervising and managing a development team.
Here are the main ways to maximize your performance in software development:
- Know goals related to the solution you develop (its end-users, environment, core functionality).
- Plan the software development process in advance, and divide it into logical sprints.
- Include time-management practices and tools.
- Educate yourself with the industries you are working in.
- Share experience and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Avoid working in a stressful environment and have some offline time every day.