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Make my team go faster!!

The evidence based approach to optimizing your performance.

I was hanging out last year at a networking event and the topic of team performance came up. Nearly everyone complained about speed of delivery and discussed and debated all sorts of complicated and creative ideas to go faster. If you google productivity, it is a hot topic and everyone wants to know how to uplift their team's performance

But is there really a silver bullet to team performance? I am going to say yes there definitely is! Now, i understand this is a deliberately provocative statement, but the simple answer is just yes, but perhaps with a different lens to look at the problem.

So what would i do? If I was to focus on only one thing to uplift team performance, I would choose prioritization, which means being careful about what i ask them to work on.

So to help you understand why this will have such a large impact, lets look at some sobering facts by asking a simple question. When your software application is launched and available for use by customers, how many of its features do you think your customers will usage?

Software Feature Usage

You will find lots of similar studies with the same outcome, but this is based on a study from a market research company called Standish Group who run a TCO [Total Cost of Ownership] survey every few years. It is based on 1000+ organisations and 3000+ applications.

Ouch. Read it again, 20% of everything that your team will build is always or often used. Whilst, 64% of all features are never or rarely used. Have you measured your feature usage? What are you statistics?

Can you imagine the cost savings if we could identify which ones would be frequently used upfront? Or if we had the discipline to say 'NO' upfront to features that will never be used? Imagine how much you could increase your probability of delivering on time and reduce costs, if you simply gave your team less to do and by being very careful on what work you put on their plate?!

So, make it real - how do you implement?

To be honest, there are lots of good prioritization frameworks out there, so assess and decide what works for you. Don't re-create the wheel lots of clever people have put a lot of work into this topic already. the one i will share with you today is the Spotify Model

D.I.B.B. Framework

Simple Example:

Anyone who knows me, will know i am passionate about being data driven!! Opinions are not enough, if you want to 'use your team's time wisely'! you need to be evidenced based. You also need to find the 'skinniest' way to meet the customer need.

Other helpful tips!!

  • Features should be prioritized using a set of attributes to allow equal comparison

  • You must have a stack rank, one no.1, one no.2. etc

  • Have a 'no' board, be proud of everything you have rejected using the data provided

  • It is ok to take risks, but make the risks small and deliberate before placing bigger bets

  • Backlog discussions and healthy debate should be encouraged.

  • Ask yourself how can you achieve the outcome with the smaller effort possible. Scenarios

  • Feedback loop - Were your assumptions correct? If not, feedback into the process

Remember if the customer is not using the feature,

the feature value contribution is zero.

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