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Why Workflow Management is the Key to Your Dev Team’s Effectiveness

Seldom is software development simple. Often it involves several team members working on multiple tasks simultaneously—each with their own thoughts, ideas, logic and unique approach. Understandably, things can get messy in a hurry.

Even a minor lapse in communication or a single oversight has the power to derail a project and put you behind. This can result in a host of negative consequences including diminished productivity, higher costs and a lackluster UX.

Without a viable framework in place to keep things organized, your dev team’s progress can be marginalized, leaving the end product is likely to suffer. To make things worse, many teams struggle to keep up with customer demand. Whenever they’re rushed, they end up scrambling and cutting corners, which can further adversely affect functionality and usability.

There are security implications as well. In fact, 65 percent of respondents in Ponemon’s 2015 State of Mobile App Insecurity stated the security of mobile apps is sometimes jeopardized because of customer demand or need. Facing a rush to release is one of the quickest ways for flaws and vulnerabilities to manifest.  

Keeping things on track and on schedule is something that countless of developers struggle with. So what’s the solution?

More and more are finding the value in workflow management solutions, which are vital to your dev team’s effectiveness in several ways.

Delegate tasks efficiently

Every single team member needs to know which tasks they’re responsible for and what the deadlines are. Any confusion in this area can lead to setbacks and headaches.

Workflow management makes it so that each task has a clear owner, and there’s no ambiguity as to who’s responsible for what. By assigning tasks to both teams and individuals, confusion is reduced, as everyone knows what their specific role is.

Whether it’s prototyping, software design or business logic creation, proper delegation ensures a smooth workflow across the board.

Track the actions of team members

Transparency is key for effective software development. Whether it’s keeping people honest  and discouraging nefarious activities (e.g. injecting malicious code) or simply being able to go back and identify errors that have occurred, transparency puts you in the driver’s seat from conception to completion.

To facilitate proper transparency, check out Hansel’s breadcrumbs feature, which documents every single action that could modify your product and keeps tabs for you. You’re never left in the dark, and you’re in a position to address small problems before they escalate into much larger ones.

Increase accountability

Combine efficient task delegation and action documentation, and what do you get? A much higher level of accountability for each person on your team.

The former ensures that individuals know what they’re responsible for and what their deadlines are. The latter keeps all of their actions out in the open to ensure honesty and traceability.

You could argue that holding team members accountable like this will help you get the most out of your team collectively. It’s what keeps a project on track and helps you systematically work your way through all of the necessary stages.

Streamline the approval process

There is a complex sequence of steps that must happen as your software moves throughout the development process on its way to launch. If there’s a mistake made in one area, it can potentially impact several others, causing a negative chain reaction.

So it’s critical that every change that’s made goes through a formal approval mechanism. Installing gatekeepers who are required to give a change the green light before it can actually go through ensures that a developer’s work is up to par and that it doesn’t adversely affect the entire project.

Effective workflow management is ideal because it enables you to streamline the approval process so that:

  • All key changes must first go through a designated user
  • Requests can be monitored and their statuses tracked
  • Admins can approve or deny requests 24/7
  • Approval can be made remotely so an admin doesn’t have to be in a physical office

Enhance communication

You could also argue that the speed and effectiveness of your communication directly impacts the quality of your software and how quickly it’s deployed. Any gaps in communication between team members can put your product behind schedule and create unnecessary complications.

So it’s essential to have a system in place that allows for lighting fast communication that enables individuals to function as a cohesive unit. It needs to be foolproof.

Workflow management is one of the best tools pound-for-pound for facilitating this level of communication for two main reasons. First, you can utilize cross-platform modules. Whether you’re developing software for Android, iOS or the web, you can create a unified module to serve as a single source of truth.

Second, communication can be handled from just one interface. If you’ve ever tried to coordinate communication between multiple employees across multiple channels (e.g. email, messengers, etc.), you know how onerous it can be. One person may miss a time-sensitive message simply because they weren’t alerted, which can trickle down and disrupt communication between other team members. It’s a snowball effect of the worst kind.

Workflow management prevents this from happening, as it provides your team with a singular platform to ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times. This way no critical messages are missed, and individuals receive notifications in a timely manner.

Minimize errors

Overlooked tasks, late actions and non-approvals are all toxic to the software development process. Not only can they cost you time, they inhibit team members from operating at their maximum potential. This, of course, can result in delayed deployment—potentially forcing team members to scramble—setting the stage for glitches and vulnerabilities.

An effective workflow management platform can drastically reduce these types of errors by notifying the appropriate parties whenever there’s an issue. In turn, you can move throughout the stages of development with less friction and prevent unnecessary curveballs.  

Maximize visibility

Who’s working on what? What’s the status of this task? Does a particular team member need approval from an admin before they can proceed? Are we behind on something?

These are just a few examples of questions that often arise during development. But you don’t have to wonder about the answers as long as you’re using a solid workflow management tool. You’ll always have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening and which recent activities have occurred. With maximum visibility, even the most subtle disruptions won’t go unnoticed.

Reduce project duration

App development tends to be an arduous, time-consuming affair. According to Nine Hertz, it takes nearly 18 weeks to develop and publish a standard native mobile app—10 weeks to build the back-end and 8 weeks to build the front-end. Throw in some setbacks along the way, and it’s likely to be even longer.

As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence and customers have little patience these days. They want it, and they want it now.

Without any type of framework in place, it’s all too easy for progress to slow to a sluggish crawl. A lack of accountability and too much back-and-forth can put deployment way behind schedule, which is never good for business.

Utilizing the right workflow management solution can do wonders for accelerating the project life cycle. Between delegating tasks so that they’re crystal clear, notifying team members of approaching deadlines and improving communication exponentially, you’ll find that a proper workflow management tool makes it possible to get into a nice rhythm and avoid constant interruptions.

In the long run, this should help you achieve sustained momentum and reduce the project duration considerably. That way you can hasten the time-to-market and keep your customers happy without compromising quality.

Lower costs

Research from Appster determined that in 2018 it costs up to $80,000 to develop a simple app and $150,000-$250,000 for advanced, multi-feature apps. That’s no small sum.

Any sort of inefficiencies along the way can rack up even more costs and become a serious financial strain. That’s why you want to do everything possible to get your ducks in a row to drive effective collaboration and keep team members on the same page.

Workflow management is just the ticket and is ideal for eliminating inefficiencies and making optimal use of your time and resources.  

Paving the way for seamless development

Dev teams have a lot on their plates, and projects can go from smooth to chaotic in an instant. Don’t leave your progress to chance. Instead, manage development from a central system and use business orchestration to simplify the process.

Implementing a workflow management solution is usually your best bet. Its robust features provide you will the tools needed to keep everyone operating as a collective unit, while reducing many of the inefficiencies that invariably pop up.

The end result? Smoother workflow, greater harmony and less stress.

What are some of the biggest obstacles that your team encounters during development? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Marta
    July 10, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I totally agree with your point of view! I think that this way of project management is so effective because in our software development team, the biggest obstacles that during development are communication things. That’s why we found that the more designers and developers or clients and Project Managers understand each other, the faster they find solutions. 😉 Good luck!

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