Developing software solo or as a team effort always poses the question of how to increase your work and team efficiency. Luckily when I started my first software business, I had a fantastic team that helped me so I didn't need to outsource a team.
But most startups aren't as fortunate and is one of the major reasons why many of them close shop.
But once you have a great team, how do you make sure that they are incredibly productive? Being able to boost your productivity will allow you to stay focused and finish deliverables in a timely manner.
The key to success within the software industry lies within the careful planning and preparation of your work day. Here are 5 tips for more efficient software development.
1. Clear Your Work Environment
Having a positive, healthy, and distraction-free work environment is vital to be productive in the workplace.
Keep your workspace free of clutter, unsubscribe from marketing emails in your work inbox, and make sure to turn off all social media notifications when you enter the office. It may even be beneficial to block particularly tempting websites at work.
In our current era of digital media, the internet is full of distractions coming your way. These types of distractions can be broken up into two categories: outside sources, and ourselves. Wearing headphones while you work in the office space may allow you to avoid being distracted by fellow co-workers. An uninterrupted workflow is a productive one.
I love using a plugin called Stayfocusd for Google Chrome which blocks certain websites such as Facebook and only allows me access to a select few for a few hours.
2. Organize Your Priorities
Improving your documentation and keeping everything updated and prioritized will greatly help your development process.
If a team member needs to be alerted to the day's highest priority tasks, having a set place for plans and documentation will keep everyone in line.
Using technology that even automates these processes can be beneficial. Being able to keep yourself and your team members productive while simultaneously being able to monitor and report their progress will greatly increase your efficiency.
Before leaving work for the night consider even constructing a small list of high priority tasks for the next day.
Pinpointing just a handful of critical action items for your following day allows you to come into work in the morning with a more focused mind.
You don't need to think about what your main priorities are, you already have them.
3. Plan Your Development Process
Before your fingers even touch the keyboard, plan out how you want to handle the task at hand. Many programmers spend hours in front of whiteboards before they even begin typing.
Determining patterns early on and writing modular code will help you to simplify your process and increase reusability. Planning out smaller functions that can complete one task is an easy way for programmers to make code reusable and efficient.
Taking the time to think in these abstract ways will allow you to develop patterns and transform problems into solutions you already have.
4. Avoid Overworking Yourself
Working past your productive point is a waste of time. Crunch time is an unavoidable part of the tech industry, but it is also the most taxing on one's brain power. Fixing previous mistakes that you've made due to being over worked is doubling your original efforts.
Being able to alternate between work and taking breaks will greatly benefit your mental health and your efficiency. It's important to take physical breaks as well and make sure you stand up to stretch at your desk every so often.
Many programmers will stand as they work as sitting at a desk for long periods of time can be incredibly detrimental to your health.
5. Try Out Agile Development
Agile development is an alternative too traditional or waterfall project management that focuses on being an incremental and iterative process. It's an umbrella term that encompasses popular methodologies such as Scrum, Crystal, and Lean Development.
Agile methods of project management grew from tech industry professionals who had first-hand experienced the challenges and limitations of traditional management. It offers a lightweight framework for helping teams maintain focus and create a constantly evolving technical landscape.
Consider using software that is purpose built for Agile teams such as QASymphony and JIRA to manage Agile workflows, development, documentation, and testing.
Forming your work environment to be a productive and efficient place will greatly benefit your overall product and company.
Choosing to spend a little bit of time each day to increase your efficiency can also help to cultivate your work value and attitude towards your career.
Having a team who is on task, focused, and flexible can help to create the newest, upcoming, and innovative software technology.
What changes are you going to make to your development?