How can you evaluate the performance of your IT Development Team?
The question is worth asking and not easy to answer; how can you evaluate the performance of your IT development team with certainty?
Evaluating the performance of an IT Development team is not as easy as it sounds. The fact is that IT projects vary greatly in scope, budget and schedule; in this context, it is difficult to compare!
In this post, we will not discuss “mathematical” methods such as the “function point” (FFP) method that allows you to evaluate the necessary load associated with a development in terms of points. This evaluation gives constant results, what changes is the number of hours required by the development team to program a function point. Unfortunately these methods are not very common.
We will talk about some of the basics…
The results often speak for themselves; the customer is satisfied, your team did not exceed the budget, the deliverables were delivered on time, etc.
When this is the case, then Bravo, even if these results do not tell the whole story because they can be misleading in many ways:
- The project was delivered on time but a lot of overtime was consumed
- Deliverables were delivered on time but is the application architecture or code quality up to par?
- The project is delivered on time but does not meet expectations
In short, are you getting your money’s worth with your development team?
And when you wonder, it’s because you have a doubt…
The Software Development Assessment Path or how to demystify your development team’s performance
While it’s not simple, there are a few avenues that can shed some light on you as an IT Manager. And the first question to ask yourself is: what should you look at?
Here are three basic metrics that any IT Director should be able to assess without too much difficulty:
- Do you have a good Development methodology?
- Are your IT Projects well defined? (scope / reach / priority)
- What metrics do you have in place on your IT Projects?
The Agile Methodology has become a golden standard for more than 10 years now. It emphasizes the value delivered by any IT project, mainly in terms of functionality.
The Agile methodology is based on a few fundamental principles:
- Setting short-term objectives
- Clear communication / Customer and Development Team
- Short Development Cycle / Sprint (2-3 weeks)
- Team Concept / Mobilization of all Resources
- Structure / Projects & Sub-projects & Tasks
Adapting a good software development methodology ensures good communication and therefore ensures that there will be no deviation of priorities during the IT Project, both on the Customer and the Development side. The Agile methodology offers clear benefits:
- very fast time to market
- better project management and customer follow-up
- superior increase in customer and employee satisfaction
- organizational flexibility to respond quickly to any change
But there is an intangible benefit of the Agile methodology that will be very useful to any IT Director, it is that it quickly reveals incompetence by the fact that it is quickly visible that a resource is not able to deliver or not able to deliver in the allotted time…
N.B. And if you are aiming for a superior Performance and Quality of your IT Projects, then enroll your King Pins in a SCRUM methodology training.
Project Management & Definition
Do we need to stress the importance of Project Definition and Scope; the impact of clearly defining the Project and communicating the objectives and priorities?
A good initial definition implies that everyone understands the objectives, priorities and deliverables of the Project; this will ensure that everyone understands what needs to be monitored, measured and delivered.
And yet, we can’t count the number of IT Projects that start out in one direction and then branch off halfway through, only to return to the basics… with mixed results.
Whose fault is it? The fault of SDCs (Change Requests).
HINT: SDCs (Change Requests) are the worst enemy of an IT Project and the main cause of drift in an IT Project due to poor SDC tracking and misallocation of priority level of some SDCs.
Example: a SDC that leads to a change of scope in a Sprint!
It is therefore essential to create the change requests. In addition, the following link lists 5 steps to make better change requests.
This brings us to the importance of defining priority Roles: Project Manager & Product Owner (Business Analyst)
The Project Manager will work hand in hand with the Product Owner and this work will begin as soon as the Project is defined.
Incidentally, this close collaboration will continue throughout the project and especially during the emergence of SDCs, as it is the Project Manager’s responsibility to clearly establish the communication channels and dictate the SDC management protocols.
The good Project Manager will have developed over time a sense of anticipation of the impact of SDCs. He will also be able to anticipate the performance of his developers and the delivery times against the SDCs.
This is the kind of ability that you acquire with experience but that can also come more easily with the right tools…
Metrics & Tools
The success of an IT Development Project will rely on a good methodology, a clear definition of the Project scope, an experienced Project Manager and good tools (DevOps / Jira) in an adequate development environment.
To this, we should add a Dashboard of course and perhaps another tool that by integrating with DevOps / Jira would allow the Manager to not only track the Remaining Work for each of the tasks of his Project but also to know in real time, the number of hours executed. Thus, the Manager will be able to compare the Work Done with the Remaining Work.
The Project Manager, with the help of this tool, would be able to follow his Projects in real time and measure the real Performance of his Developers, of his Development team.
Finally, the ISO 9001 – ISO 9126 are without a doubt the new Quality Control standards to which all companies must conform in IT, as elsewhere.
In the set of critical factors for the success of an IT Project, it appears to us that the most fundamental factor is the degree of collaboration between the Project Manager, the “Product Owner” and all parties involved in a project because as they say: “Business Relationship Always Comes Down to Human Relationship. “