Table of Contents
4 Effective Techniques to Level Up Your SDLC
Software development is a challenging process filled with obstacles at every phase. Even experienced development teams can fall victim to the common pitfalls and inefficiencies of software development.
A poorly structured SDLC process might damage product quality or cause considerable delays. In this post, we will guide you through 4 simple tips to enhance the process of developing software and maximize the work of your project team.
1. Generate a workflow
Although it might sound simple, we’ve worked with multiple clients whose teams haven’t really thought out their basic workflow. Simply put, a workflow is a company’s procedure to plan and track workload. The life and state of a task are usually more intricate than finished or ongoing. Typically, your development process comprises several stages, from planning, implementing, reviewing, and deployment. Regardless of the workflow’s context, it must be transparent and clear.
But how can you tell if your workflow is working for you? Once your workflow has been clearly defined, you can start investigating any inefficiencies and process bottlenecks. If you feel that your week is not moving smoothly through your process, you may want to start paying attention to the following:
- Are some phases in your workflow assiduously slow, or is work piling up for a specific member or activity?
- Are some tasks continually re-opened after being tagged as complete?
- Are there any ‘’dead tasks’’ i.e., tasks that were terminated before reaching completion?
Your workflow won’t be perfect right off the bat, and that’s fine. Taking your process through the loop a few times can yield findings that can streamline and enhance your workflow. For instance, you might discover that the review stage consumes more time than expected. Maybe the Project Manager isn’t dedicated enough time, and as a result, unknowingly emerges a bottleneck? The more transparent your workflow is, the simpler it is to identify and actively cope with irregularities.
2. Clean up your backlog
It’s always easier to fill up a backlog than to execute them. Nevertheless, your backlog won’t serve a purpose unless you start shaping it. A well-defined product backlog enables you to concentrate on critical tasks while not neglecting other less essential ideas or pieces of work that have emerged from a variety of channels.
A good practice is to divide your backlog into tasks you’ve committed to complete soon and ones that you might do someday. If you manage your backlog using a tool like Trello, I’d advise putting low-priority tasks on a separate board, as you don’t want it to keep you preoccupied.
The someday list comprises tasks you might want to promote to the backlog later in the project, when you get more detail or begin to consider a more comprehensive range of feature options. It serves as a repository for all the intriguing concepts and features that you want to keep but do not need to be addressed immediately.
Yet, don’t turn it into a pile of unfinished jobs! Instead, trim it periodically by getting rid of the chores that don’t appear essential or doable. Your someday list should be relatively stable in size and not constantly growing. When properly maintained, it can be a crucial resource to have when selecting what to do next for your product.
3. Control your Work In Progress (WIP)
Multitasking undermines productivity. Any system will have a lower overall output when it is overloaded. Similarly, when you overload team members with tasks, throughput slows, and the amount of defects rises. As a rule of thumb, the more you multitask, the longer it takes to finish any individual task.
How can you counteract the creep of multitasking, though? Starting off, you can shorten your cycle times by concurrently working on fewer tasks in progress. Consider establishing WIP limits to your workflow. If you’re deploying a kanban board, you can set the maximum number of jobs allowed on each column. For instance, you can make a rule that each developer is only allowed to have two tasks maximum in progress.
At first, it may seem counterintuitive; however, you’ll soon realize that better focus with fewer context switches can enable you to accomplish your tasks faster overall. This can also reduce your team members’ stress levels as there’s less task juggling in the workday. And happy employees generate better quality work.
Setting WIP limits doesn’t imply that you must wait until all of your current tasks have been finished before starting a new one. They should be regarded as guidelines and cautionary signals rather than unalterable laws. Nonetheless, if you find yourself above the WIP cap, you should strive to figure out how/why this emerged and how it could be avoided in upcoming projects.
4. Make your progress detectable.
Do all your stakeholders know the current state of the project you’re working on? By ‘’stakeholders’’, I don’t just mean your team members but also your upper management, salespeople, or clients. Do they all have an update on which features are already finished and which ones you’re still building?
Visualizing your work is a fundamental tenet of processes like Kanban. With a physical board on the wall (aka ‘information radiator’), you can enter the room and immediately grasp the project status.
Preferably, a good information radiator presents information from multiple angles. For example, you can utilize a burndown chart to display your current sprint as well as the list of blocked tasks. On the other hand, a cumulative flow chart is a great visualization to identify bottlenecks. Choose the information and visualizations most pertinent to your circumstance and your team’s objectives.
The human brain is structured to digest visual information quickly at a high bandwidth. Hence, the team that makes use of information radiators tends to get a better understanding of their project status at all times. An excellent information radiator is noticeable, attention-grabbing, and avoids clutter by only showing key information.
It’s vital to have a well-structured process for your SDLC to have your products released on time with high quality and under budget constraints. Evaluate your current procedure. Does it enable you to get better outcomes? Which activities are beneficial? Are there any actions that are blatantly ineffective or that are visibly sluggish?
We hope you found these suggestions helpful and easy to put into implementation to improve your existing software development process. If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, you’ll undoubtedly value our newsletter, which you can sign up for below. Otherwise, feel free to contact us if there is any project that you think we can assist with.