How to optimize performance through Software Development Process Audit
Today, IT departments play a key role in the growth of many businesses. Companies from different sectors invest in IT projects and set up software development teams. The purpose of such investments is to get a technological advantage to enable faster responses to future market developments. To make that possible, enterprises hire talent, purchase tools and deploy a variety of processes. And even though there are market standards and methodologies available to help create IT products, many ventures still end in failure. Just choosing a software development process methodology is not enough to guarantee success. It may sometimes prove difficult to implement its theory and stick to good practices.
If you notice that the actions of your team or organisation are failing to bring you closer to your goals, you might want to go back to square one and perform a software development process audit.
This article will answer the following questions:
- What are the common problems faced by IT projects and teams?
- What is involved in a software development process and team audit?
- What are the benefits of an audit?
In our capacity as experienced IT consultants, we have a rare vantage point that allows us to see the whole range of issues that plague IT teams and our clients’ projects. These include, for instance:
- High costs that don’t translate into progress;
- Expansion of production deployment scope and associated delays;
- Delays in the delivery of new product or system functionalities;
- Problems with defining project objectives that would support your business strategy;
- Discrepancies between user expectations and the final product;
- A large number of errors and corrections and a longer testing phase.
These problems may be rooted in an ineffective software development process. Many teams try to boost their performance locally with minor changes, new tools or work methodologies. However, without a
n holistic view of the entire process, you can only shift the bottleneck somewhere else.
An IT audit of the development process will involve a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of your approach and come back to you with a list of recommended improvements.
What is the software development process?
Simply put, the software development process consists of all the steps and activities you need to perform in order to create and maintain a working “product”, e.g. an app or a system. It is also known as the software life cycle.
Regardless of the specific methodology used by your team, the process always includes several common key elements, such as collecting and analysing requirements, design, implementation, testing, deployment and maintenance. Depending on the methodology, the elements may just be variously configured.
Nowadays, the most popular methodologies on the market can be divided into two main types: traditional methodologies (known as waterfall methodologies) and agile methodologies.
What is involved in an audit of the software development process and teams?
Before we discuss the benefits of an audit, we need to briefly explain what it is. An audit is an evaluation and review of the situation at hand to get an objective answer to the following question: are we getting closer to our goals?
Importantly, any software development process is inextricably linked to a project team, i.e. the people who develop the software in the first place. Accordingly, any process audit will also involve an analysis of your IT team and its work.
A competent audit starts from analysing the needs and expectations of the client and preparing a framework plan. Next, a list of people involved in the audit is defined; the auditing team then proposes a preliminary diagnosis based on available materials, interviews and questionnaires. The audit as such is also a process, which means the auditing team will communicate its progress and results throughout its duration.
The result of the audit is a report that includes a list of problems encountered and related recommendations. Moreover, if you need support, as an experienced software house we will help you put a new plan into practice.
What are the benefits of a software development process audit?
Learn about the 5 most important benefits that a software development audit can bring for your team and business:
1. Eliminating bottlenecks
A software development process audit is a comprehensive audit that looks at the entire software development cycle. This allows specific steps in the process that may limit the potential of the mechanism as a whole to be diagnosed. Through an audit you might discover, for instance, that your IT architecture requires a more detailed analysis.
2. Reducing costs
A properly optimised process just costs less. An audit will determine whether all the elements of the process work as expected. A component might be missing or might require changes and improvements.
3. Laying the foundations for an IT strategy
A strategy is a plan of action that takes you from your status quo to your business goals. To draft it, you first need to know your current standing is as an organisation or team.
An audit, i.e. a thorough analysis of the current situation, together with target-focused recommendations, will be an important element of your future action plan. It will also tell you whether your current process and IT team work organisation are likely to help you further develop your business.
4. Boosting team productivity
Sometimes downtimes or recurring problems may stem from a lack of sufficient skills or too few members in a team. An audit may tell you that to achieve the results you want, you need to expand your teams or create new ones. Recruitment of new people and teams is best done based on a competency matrix.
If you need help growing your team, check what we can do for you in terms of team extension.
5. Choosing the right methodology
Learning more about your own development process and getting an objective view of project targets and the project team will help you determine whether your current methodology is right for your purpose.
Every methodology has a specific application, along with its own principles and limitations, so it is better to rely on hard data, such as project size, team maturity and organisation, or business/client availability, before you choose one. Market trends matter, but they are not the best or the most effective criterion to go by when choosing your software development methodology.
Who will benefit the most from an audit?
Considering its wide range of benefits and advantages, the software development process audit will be a good idea for mature enterprises and start-ups alike. Let’s talk about what an audit can do for your organisation.