The importance of teamwork in software product development cannot be overstated. And yet, it must be exaggerated because there is a popular misconception that software product development is an isolated endeavor: the work of one programmer or team cloistered in a corner.
How is software product development similar to Ultimate Team Sport?
It is actually more like a professional soccer team with different stakeholder groups.
Consider the stakeholders of the game: players, coaches, trainers, administrators, etc., each working towards the common goal of winning.
Consider stakeholders in software product development: With software product development, coders are just one part of the team, completed by adjacent users, executives, designers, IT specialists, and other important key players. They everything has something important to contribute.
Similarly, if none of these stakeholders are included in the software product development process, the end result is compromised. Take away the coaches, and great football players rarely win.
Assembling a software product development team
The software product development life cycle should always begin with the creation of the necessary team. For many companies, that means enlisting the help of a software product developer to complement their in-house engineering teams. And, somewhat paradoxically, treating software product development as a team sport also means allowing product teams to operate as autonomous teams.
To a large extent, these teams should be able to work free of bureaucracy and politics, completely focused on the product at hand. To do that, the other stakeholders must collaborate to ensure that the teams have the guidance, resources, and time they need to work with a high degree of independence.
Just as important as assembling the constituent parts and letting them function autonomously is finding the perfect fit between them. Obviously, teams must have the right mix of skills to turn the software product development process into a functional, finished product. But they also need the right mix of personalities, clear roles for everyone involved, a cohesive leadership structure, and effective communication channels.
The goal is to build a sum that is greater than its parts, an achievable goal as long as companies can get past the notion that software product development is something they can “give” to others.
In practice, it is much better to be involved from start to finish. That may take more input and resources, but there is a strong business case for treating software product development like the team sport that it is.
GO TEAM — Here’s what your team can do:
In the midst of uncertainty, whether it’s a global pandemic or an industry-specific disruption, software product development enables companies to create the business solutions they need to survive and thrive. But speed is essential.
When companies need a solution sooner rather than later, they must take an hands-on approach, dedicating whoever and whatever it takes to get the software up and running. So, with enough resources behind the software product development process, a company can keep up with the pace of change instead of falling behind the competition.
Driving meaningful innovation
Custom software can provide a quick fix, but at best, it triggers a wave of opportunity within an organization by allowing it to accomplish what it couldn’t before.
However, to have the most significant impact, developers need to incorporate input from a broad base of stakeholders, including designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and business builders, among others. Developing software products that incorporate many voices and ideas leads to products with significant impact.
Overcome persistent obstacles
No one person or team has all the answers. That helps explain why some problems never go away: They lack outside perspectives. By incorporating diverse skill sets and backgrounds into the software product development lifecycle, companies discover solutions (or innovations) they might not otherwise have.
Diversity offers a shortcut to business solutions, just as a lack of diversity turns persistent business problems into severe headaches.
Learn to repeat success
When companies create cohesive software product development teams made up of talented professionals who share a common culture, those teams become powerful units.
According to A study, cultural cohesion is the driving factor behind the success of development teams. That may seem obvious, yet few companies prioritize cultural fit when building teams. Yet when they do, they create fast, flexible teams that know how to work together to overcome obstacles and race toward solutions. Also, these teams know how to repeat their own success.
What is the composition of your software product development team? What pieces might be missing and what effect does that have on the development and strength of the entire organization? These questions are worth asking because the answers show companies how to become the best version of themselves.
The most successful software products lead to game-changing business solutions, and those products always come from diverse, collaborative, cross-functional teams. After all, there is no self in “software product development.”
Image Credit: Annie Spratt; Unsplash; Thanks!