Friday, September 25, 2015

Create Value From Technical Difficulties

Like a fine tuned engine, great software development runs when there's minimal technical difficulties.

Let's refer to these technical difficulties as "FRICTION$". Like real friction they heat EVERYONE up and in the end they are costing us money and time.

It isn't uncommon that a developer could spend anywhere between 1 and 5 hours per week working on FRICTIONS$ of environment configuration. If you have a 4 person dev team you could be looking at 16-80 hours lost to friction in critical months across the team.

How many man-hours are you spending per month in configuration? Per developer? Per year?

By the end of this article you will know how to spot some FRICTION$ in your project and I will share with you a skill to turn FRICTION$ into value

Project stakeholders in a make or break position can quickly feel the burn on their checkbooks and calendars when projects begin requiring more complex environments. Coordinating upgrades with all engineers can become a large point of FRICTION$

Upgrades, integration of new modules and services, boots and reboots are naturally part of the creative process, and reaching stable environments quicker is the oil that increases your teams velocity. Here are some external FRICTION$ that we end up paying for if we work in traditional offices or in remote teams.

Human condition + Murphy's Law
What's the cost to your project if a laptop is stolen or has a virus? Flood? Battery failure? Lost power cord? Chewed power cord? What if a developer has worked on your project across multiple computers?

Did you know you can mitigate the risks of problems on a developer's computer effecting their ability to complete work on your product?

Is it costing you time when your engineers need to take the time to install development tools when they get Apple's newest Mac Book Pro or they need to dig out an older system because of a system failure or even worse, theft.

OS SHOWDOWN, Fragmentation, BYOD
For many start-ups, we want to stay LEAN and operate at a fast velocity. We find talent with different diversity and with that will come stakeholders who prefer or have requirements of different technologies, operating systems, system specs and in the Glory of the Chaos we must all collaborate and build something awesome, yesterday on our virtual islands and reconnect them the mother-ship for take-off.

Don't miss the rocket - Let me help you empower your team to drive your ship.

Even more burning questions. (Yes that is a large LION in the room)
How secure are the systems of your remote developers? How exposed is your data or your clients data?

Take a few breaths. There is hope. I started sleeping a lot better at night after I made one simple change as a developer.

This is a change that could save your project up to 200 hours per year. Now before I tell you the change that helped me wrangle the beast I want you to think about where you project could use another 200 hours of development. Got it? Good.

Coming through on my promise, the simple change I made that has helped reduce FRICTIION$:

I started developing and collaborating with teams on a remote development system. No development work took place on my actual computer. It all happens on an AWS instance. This all hands on deck approach has turned repetitive apples and oranges configuration, and "island life" into unified development work that creates product value. The tools that make this possible go by the names of Vagrant, Docker, github and Devcamps.

Please leave a comment below if FRICTION$ are costing your project time and money and you want to reclaim 200 man-hours. Developers, how do you combat FRICTION$?

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