Releasing Software Developer Superpowers

Article is aimed at anyone looking to gain the edge in their software development team creation or advancement in the digital age. Concepts can be applied outside of sw dev at some level. Open to discussion – views are my own.

UX is not just for Customers

User Experience is an ever growing component of product development, with creating user centric design paradigms to ensure that personalisation and consumer/market fit is achieved. From a development team view, leveraging some of the user experience concepts in how they work can achieve operational efficiency, to accelerate product development. For example, how is the experience for each of the developer personnas in your team? How do their days translate to user stories? Can interviewing the development community lead to creating better features for your development culture?

Build Products not Technology

Super important. Sometimes with developers, there is an over emphasis on the importance of building features, a lot of the time for features sake. By keeping the lens on the value or “job to be done” for the customer in the delivery of a product at all times can ensure you are building what is truly needed by your customer. To do this, select and leverage a series of metrics to measure value for that product, along with keeping your product developent in series, and tightly coupled to your customer experience development.

Leverage PaaS to deliver SaaS

This sounds catching but its becoming the norm. 5 years ago, it took a developer a week of development time to do what you can do in Amazon Web Services or Azure now in minutes. This has led to a paradigm shift, where you being to look at the various platforms and tools that are available to enable the developers to deliver great products to customers. Of course, there will always be custom development apps, but you can help your developers by getting them the right toolkit. There is no point reinventing the wheel when OTS open source components are sitting there, right? Products like Docker and Spring and concepts like DevOps are bringing huge value to organisations, enabling the delivery of software or microservices at enhanced speed. Also, the balance between buying OTS and building custom is a careful decision at product and strategic levels.

“The role of a developer is evolving to one like a top chef, where all the ingredients and tools are available, its just getting the recipe right to deliver beautiful products to your customer.”

Create Lean Ninjas!

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Evolving the cultural mindset of developers and the organisation toward agile development is super important. Having critical mass of development resources, plus defined agile processes to deliver business success  can really reshape how your organisation into one where value creation in a rapid manner can take place. However, its important to perform ethnographical studies on the organisation to assess the culture. This can help decide on which agile frameworks and practices (kanban, scrum, xp etc) can work best to evolve the development life cycle.

Implement the 10% rule

Could be slightly controversial, and can be hard to do. Developers should aim to spend 10% of their time looking at the new. The new technologies, development practices, company direction, conferences, training. Otherwise you will have a siloed mis-skilled pool of superheros with their powers bottled.

However, with lean ninjas and effective agile company wide processes, resources and time can be closely aligned to exact projects and avoid injecting randomness into the development lifecycle. Developers need time to immerse and focus. If you cant do that for them, or continously distract them with mistimed requests – they will leave. If you can enable them 10% is achievable.

Risk Awareness

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We are seeing an evolution in threats to enterprise all over the world, and in a software driven and defined world, getting developers to have security inherent design practices prior to products hitting the market can help protect companies. Moons ago, everything sat on prem. The demands of consumers mean a myriad of cloud deployed services are adding to a complex technology footprint globally. If they know the risk landscape metrics from where they deploy, they can act accordingly. Naturally, lining them up with business leaders on compliance and security can also help on the educational pathway.

Business and Technology Convergence

We are beginning to see not only evolution in development practices –  we are also seeing a new type of convergance (brought about by lean agile and other methods) where business roles and technology roles are converging. We are beginning to see business analysts and UX people directly positioned into development teams to represent the customer and change the mindset. We are seeing technology roles being positioned directly into business services teams like HR and finance. This is impacting culture, wherby the saviness in both directions needs to be embraced and developed.

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Growth Mindset

We mentioned mindset a lot in the article. That because its hugely important. Having the right culture and mindset can make all the difference in team success. As Carol Dweck talks about in her book “Mindset”, you can broadly categorise them into two – growth and fixed. This can be applied in all walks of life, but for team building it can be critical.

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.

Creating a team where being on a growth curve and failures are seen as learning can really enable a brilliant culture. As Michaelangelo said “I am still learning”. Especially as we evolve to six generations of developers. How do we ensure we are creating and mentoring the next set of leaders from interns through to experienced people?

Check a Ted talk from Carol here – link.

And most importantly … HAVE FUN!

Published by

deniscanty

DENIS CANTY IS EXCITED TO BEGIN IN JULY 2017 WITH MCKESSON, A FORTUNE 5 COMPANY – AS THEIR SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CYBER SOFTWARE ENGINEERING IN CORK. HIS LAST ROLE (TO JUNE 2017) WAS AS THE LEAD TECHNOLOGIST FOR IOT WITH JOHNSON CONTROLS INNOVATION GROUP BASED IN CORK, IRELAND. THAT ROLE MEANT COLLABORATING EXTENSIVELY BETWEEN HIS TECHNICAL AND SALES TEAMS TO DRIVE FURTHER COMMERCIALISATION OPPORTUNITY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY (BOTH OUR OWN AND PARTNERS/STARTUPS) INTO OUR SALES CHANNELS, SPECIFICALLY LOOKING AT THE EMERGING SMART BUILDING MARKET. THE PROJECTS INCLUDE OUR EXISTING TECHNOLOGIES – BUILDING SECURITY, RETAIL, HVAC AND BUILDING ENERGY – AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS IOT, AR AND MACHINE LEARNING. A KEY COMPONENT WAS TAKING KEY INPUT FROM NUMEROUS STAKEHOLDERS AND PROCESSES TO DELIVER ROI FOR CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS. HE THEN LED THE TEAM TO BUILD AND DEPLOY THE SOLUTIONS IN AN LEAN AGILE MANNER. DENIS SPOKE ON THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT FOR JOHNSON CONTROLS AT NUMEROUS TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCES. HIS LEADERSHIP STYLE IS LEADERSHIP THROUGH TRUST AND DELIVERY, AND I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY TEAM, COMPASSION AND HUMILITY ARE ALSO IMPORTANT AS A LEADER IN MY OPINION. I LIKE TO BUILD A BALANCED CULTURE, WITH THE PEOPLES PERSONALITIES IMPORTANT INPUTS INTO THAT. DENIS HAS A DEGREE IN ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING (2H) FROM CORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, A MASTERS IN MICROELECTRONIC CHIP DESIGN (1H) FROM UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK AND A MASTERS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE (1H) FROM DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY. PRIOR TO JOHNSON CONTROLS, DENIS HELD A POSITION OF PRINCIPAL DATA ARCHITECT AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER WITH EMC FROM 2010 TO 2015, SPENDING 2011 IN SILICON VALLEY. HE LED A TEAM FOCUSED AT REDUCING AND CONSUMING NINE TEST AUTOMATION PLATFORMS FROM EXTERNAL MANUFACTURERS TO ONE EMC CLOUD HOSTED PLATFORM. HE ALSO WORKED ON A NUMBER OF WORKFLOW AUTOMATION SOFTWARE REPLACING TEDIOUS MANUAL EXTRACT, SEARCH AND REPORT COMPILATION THAT RESULTED IN EFFICIENCY GAIN (WRITTEN IN PYTHON). I ALSO BUILT PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS APPLICATION IN MANUFACTURING AND DATA SCIENCE MODELS FOR THE CUSTOMER VERTICAL WITH THE CTO OFFICE. DENIS BROUGHT MICROSERVICES BASED DESIGN ALONG WITH DISTRIBUTED STORAGE AND PROCESSING TO THE GROUP, CHANGING THE DEVELOPMENT CULTURE IN THE PROCESS. DENIS WAS ALSO A MEMBER OF EMC’S GLOBAL INNOVATION COUNCIL AND AS AN AMBASSADOR WITH THEIR OFFICE OF THE CTO, LEADING THEIR CUSTOMER INSIGHT SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. DENIS WON TWO GLOBAL INNOVATION AWARDS IN HIS TIME WITH EMC, IN THE AREAS OF SUSTAINABILITY AND E-SERVICES, AND HAS A PATENT IN INTELLIGENT POWER MANAGEMENT ON STORAGE ARCHITECTURE. HE ALSO WORKED PREVIOUSLY FOR ALPS AUTOMOTIVE DIVISION FROM 2005-2010, IN A VARIETY OF ROLES, INCLUDING AS THE LEAD COMPUTER VISION ENGINEER, AND THE LEAD TECHNOLOGIST ON EUROPEAN RESEARCH PROJECTS IN THE AREAS OF IN-VEHICLE DISTRACTION MONITORING AND SMART HOME DEVICES. DENIS ALSO SPENT TIME CONSULTING IN THE START-UP WORLD, SUCH AS A HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS CONSULTANT WITH ACE HEALTH, LEADING THE DEVELOPMENT FOR AN APPLICATION WHICH HELPS HEALTHCARE SERVICE PROVIDERS ACHIEVE BETTER PATIENT OUTCOMES AND CUT COSTS THROUGH A REGULATOR-APPROVED PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS PLATFORM IN THE DUTCH AND US MARKETS. HE ALSO HAD HELPED NUMEROUS STARTUPS ON BUILDING THEIR TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP TO ALIGN WITH DEFINED TARGET MARKETS AND CUSTOMER BASES.

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