How to Speed Up Software Development

by Anna Khrupa on Mar 9, 2022

From time to time, almost every single company manager wonders how to speed up the process of work. For tech and IT companies, this question is even more urgent because one of the most terrifying monsters of our times – deadlines – always lingers over them. Surely, there are numerous ways of boosting employees’ efficiency, but a major part of those methods may result in some dreadful consequences. Burnout, tech debt, endless re-work, team misunderstanding, and non-value-added activities are among them. 

Therefore, the real question is not how to make your developers work faster. The question is rather how to encourage them to advance with software development in the most natural and harmless way to achieve both great results and employee satisfaction. Thus, let us consider the role and meaning of speed in the software development industry, possible threats, and ways out. 

First of all, we have to figure out if it is possible to work fast with maximum efficiency nonstop. The answer is no because it is an absolute utopia. Every human  beinghas their limits. The best and most hard-working employees may keep up with the crazy pace for months and sometimes years, but burnout is inevitable, and the price of it will be much bigger than the amount in the workers’ bank accounts. That is why employers have to use speed-ups smartly and carefully.

Let’s try to highlight the most common factors which slow down the work pace and seek solutions to those. 

How Organizational Inconveniences Impact Software Development Speed

The first and probably one of the most influential categories of the slowdown may be generally named organizational. 

It’s simple but important – you need to properly arrange a workplace. A noisy open-space office where all people work together guarantees no privacy and numerous distractions resulting in the loss of concentration and lowered productivity. To avoid this, make sure you provide your employees with a comfortable and silent workspace assigned to each team specifically so that they do not distract each other. 

Nowadays, frequent change of jobs and companies is becoming more and more common. In addition, psychologists recommend changing a job every 3-4 years. This is good for mental health but may be fatal for a project. Fast and efficient operations require coordinated teamwork, which is only possible when all team members can rely on each other. So, whenever an important project is coming and you need to increase software development speed, check if you have workers who are motivated long-term and invest in team building to improve and empower your staff. 

Talking about teams, it is also important to mention the necessity of professional diversity. Of course, having experienced developers is fundamental, but so-called fresh-blood may bring some new innovative ideas that would not come to the veterans’ minds. You may speed up problem-solving due to having different opinions and points of view.  

Managerial Issues That Don’t Allow You to Develop Software Faster

A general atmosphere in an office, as well as overall employees’ well-being, totally depends on managers. These people may use a wide arsenal of carrots and sticks to stimulate workers to give better performance.

Managers have to know several things about the people they work with. What’s more, this knowledge should include not only purely professional characteristics like employees’ specialty, strengths and weaknesses, work pace, and preferred approaches, but also personal life details. This information will allow managers to form competent teams where all members can find a common language as well as coordinate workflows and add necessary stimulus at the right moment.

It is important to remember that speed-ups and incentives need to be distributed adequately throughout the whole project. For example, you may start a project at a high speed, but then, in the middle, you need to slow down a little bit, letting your people take some rest and get ready for the final sprint before reaching the deadline. Of course, each company possesses specific and unique features, so, obviously, there is no such thing as a common speed scheme. It has to be different for each company.

Successful time management and priority setting are other crucial elements of an efficient managerial strategy. Time-wasting meetings, endless messaging in work chats, or making efforts to non-priority tasks — all these may be avoided with a proper managerial approach.

External Factors Preventing an Increase in Software Development Speed

This category can include numerous factors, starting from seasonal diseases, which quarantine half of the office, and ending with power system failures. However, the worst and probably the most common external factors that slow down the work are unclear requirements from the product owner. They create the biggest traffic jams on the project’s highway leading to release. Typical consequences of imprecise demands include numerous bugs, misunderstandings, repeated tests, rework, and multiple problem-solving meetings, which take hours. 

If you want to eliminate the threats mentioned above, analyze a project and its specifications. Do not run headlong into carrying out the project, but ask questions, do research, study the feature’s context, make prototypes, and visualize the specifications.  

How to Accelerate Software Development Process against Human Factor 

Although developers can work non-stop up to 14-16 hours per day and survive with a special diet based on energy drinks only, they are also humans. They make mistakes, get stuck, burn out, and get distracted and tired. Furthermore, all the above-mentioned factors have a direct and extremely negative effect on humans. Poor organization, inefficient management, and unclear requirements play an enormous role in the destabilization of the human factor. 

If you are aiming to eliminate the threat and accelerate the software development process, do your best to improve organizational and managerial aspects. Besides that, invest in your employees’ well-being: 

  1. Build a lounge room with some area for rest, entertainment, athletic activities, and a kitchen with nice coffee and snacks, etc.
  2. Provide them with a library full of up-to-date materials, where they will be able to find the answer to urgent questions.
  3. Help them learn and improve through conferences, masterclasses, webinars, and other activities. 
  4. Make sure that no overtime is acceptable in your team. 

Managing Technical Factors to Speed Up the Process of Software Development

There is no way to impact software development speed without minimizing technical problems and system complexity. As far as we have already entered this thorny path of technical difficulties, it is necessary to introduce its key concept, which is technical debt. It is one of the biggest controversies in the software development speed-up process since it has both advantages and disadvantages. Technical debt is a purposeful choice to sacrifice the quality of the code or any other technical solution in favor of faster software release. Cutting a long story short, such an approach is a wonderful quick fix when you are eager to meet deadlines. However, it increases system complexity and slows the project down in a long-term perspective.

Do not even try to doubt that you would have to pay the debt back and, usually, with high interest. If you are willing to minimize the potential struggle, keep up with the following tips: 

  1. Analyze and think well before taking tech debt.
  2. If you take one, keep a precise record of it so that you can go back and fix it at any moment. 
  3. Remember that in the end, you would have to fully re-write it or reduce it through refactoring and automated tests.  

Technical debt plays a major role in increasing system complexity, which is the last thing you want in your project. Undoubtedly, software naturally grows in complexity on a global scale, but we normally aim to find easy solutions when talking about particular projects. What’s more, overcomplicated structures are frequently fragile and bug-provoking. Simplifying potential complexity will help you to develop software faster. Well-skilled and experienced specialists will provide you with less complex systems, so, again, invest in your employees.

Wrapping Up

That was quite a long way through various factors that have a significant impact on software development speed. The very first and, probably, the most important thing we have to state in this summary is that all the above-mentioned factors are closely related, and they constantly interact and influence each other. Therefore, the primary conclusion we have to make is that improvement in one of them is absolutely impossible without positive changes in the others. You have to implement qualitative changes on all levels to successfully accelerate the software development process.

Secondly, as we have already noticed, the human factor is the most vital in this sphere. Employees are the main sources of all possible ideas, solutions, and changes. Basically, the success of a company totally depends on them, and that’s why appropriately treating your employees with smart management will pay off through amazing results.  

Considering the technical aspect, we have to keep in mind that it is closely related to the human factor and efficient teamwork. Solutions must be found through careful consideration by taking into account all following threats, debts, and complex issues. If you stick to our recommendations, a new level of productivity and immediate speed-up is guaranteed. 



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