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CIOs, IT Executives,
You have higher-level responsibility for a pool of software developers in your software development organization.
The developers are distributed across multiple “software factories”. The term “software factory” refers to the organization that develops and maintains a software system.
You are responsible for the overall developer budget and for on-time delivery of requirements implementation for your customers, i.e., the business side requesting new features in the software systems. Business demands fluctuate for each software system; hence, you run into inefficient situations with over-allocated software factories.
As developers are scarce resources, you want to optimally distribute the workforce across software systems such that it is aligned with the amount of implementation work requested by the business side. You want to avoid wasteful over-allocation.
This use case is applicable to software development organizations where the business demand per software system fluctuates over time, and therefore, the number of developers necessary for each software system changes and as such, the workforce allocation should be adjusted.
Such circumstances are oftentimes the case where software systems are IT applications used by the business side of the same company, e.g., sales, finance, operations, etc.
Generally, the internal customers will already have IT applications that support their business processes. In this case, the IT organization just has to maintain the systems (keep the lights on).
However, sometimes the business side needs to seize new opportunities or experiences changes in their business processes, with the subsequent need to extend or adapt the underlying IT systems.
The developer resources then need to be shifted from the software systems that were formerly in business focus to the now business-critical software systems.
You need to oversee the work on multiple software systems and it is difficult to detect when the business side reduces the amount of incoming requirements for a specific system. As a result, your organization carries wastefully over-allocated software factories that squander precious developer power, which could be used to create business value elsewhere instead.
Identifying the resources most suitable for shifting from one software system to another - without endangering further implementation work on the systems - is a delicate task and can often lead to “political discussions” between the affected software factories without fact-based arguments.
If you have detected an over-allocated software factory, it would be highly beneficial to identify those developers who could be reallocated to another factory without draining critical knowledge. Fact-based decisions would improve the culture in your organization and avoid “political discussions”.
When 3rd-party development vendors are involved, it is particularly important to identify the knowledge-carrying developers of each software system. The vendor may have its own, and potentially conflicting, agenda regarding how to provide you with developers.