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Top tips to deliver better software faster

30 Apr 2019
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Article by Callaghan Innovation digital business innovation advisor Craig Shipman

Every day, New Zealand software companies are delivering code to power applications that are used here and around the world.

Ultimately the key to ongoing success in this fast-moving arena is speed. Of course, there are many common pitfalls with software development and delivery that make this difficult.

Here are Callaghan Innovation's top tips for building better software faster:

Use small development teams. This allows you to iterate faster, communicate more effectively and avoid getting bogged down with decision-making overhead.

Obsess about your customer. Fall in love with their problems – not your solution. Really understand their pain points. If you aren’t solving their problems – someone else will.

Recruit and reward exceptional developers. Great software is developed by inspired, skilled and efficient teams, who have an equal mix of enthusiasm, experience and skills.

Experiment with software development processes to find the ones that are fit for your culture, style, people and goals. Build a culture where experimentation is normal and people are excited to try new things.

Make quality deliberate. Early attention to quality and test automation will help you build sustainable product and productive happy teams. Bake quality in up front rather than try to test it in afterwards.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Focus on your core IP, develop and own the ‘secret sauce’ of your solution/platform and use others’ good work to do the transactional tasks.

Use a high cadence of build, measure, learn. Build things, measure their acceptance then use or adapt as needed. Building in fast, small increments allows you to learn quickly and steer towards the optimal outcome fuelled by constant feedback.

Foster strong product management. Having a solid, effective product management function in your business will focus you on building the right product and is a key pre-requisite to success.

Create a place and culture where people want to work. Foster an open and safe environment where people feel free to challenge and learn.  Seek external assistance to help your business grow and challenge your people.

There are no shortcuts to developing high-quality software, and at a reasonable pace. But being open to continuous review and discovery is almost a prerequisite.