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Increasing Cost-Effectiveness by Assigning the Software System Ownership to the Most Suitable Development Team

CIOs, IT Executives,
Product Owners

Use Case CIO Product Owner

Project Managers,
Application Managers

Use Case Product Manager

Software Architects,
IT Architects

Use Case Software Architect

Engineering Leaders
 

Use Case Engineering Manager

You are responsible for a pool of developers that are distributed across multiple “software factories”. A “software factory” means the organization that builds and maintains one single software system.

You are responsible for the costs of the developer workforce and the delivery effectiveness for the business side of your company (your customers).

You have “best-cost” all-star teams and also “low-cost” teams with average skills, e.g., provided by a far-shore vendor. To improve the cost-benefit ratio, you must make sure that many software systems are maintained by the low-cost teams and the best-cost all-star teams work on the systems with high importance to the business.

You are in the sandwich position between the demanding customers (business units) and the delivering IT organization. In cost-cutting situations, you are the unlucky one who needs to find suitable strategies with which the IT department delivers the same with fewer costs.

Context

This use case applies in contexts where software systems are IT applications that you provide to the business-side of your company. That is, the business departments of your company are your customers who want their requirements to be built into the software systems that you are responsible for.

Your software developer workforce is split with respect to hour-rate costs per developer. It could be that one part of your developer workforce consists of in-house developers and another part is provided by a (cheaper) 3rd-party provider. Or you have different geographic locations, e.g., Germany, USA, India, China, where developer salaries differ significantly.

context

Pains

You know which software system is developed/maintained by which team (low-cost versus best-cost), however, you do not know if this is a cost-effective allocation.

You would like to free the best-cost teams from as much burden as possible and shift work to low-cost teams, however, you don’t know which software systems are suitable for being “far-sourced” without creating risks.

Pains

Gains

You would want a data-driven way to assess each software factory (and its system) with respect to the suitability to hand them over to low-cost teams.

You would want to see and compare KPIs per software system such as:

  • Maintainability / Comprehensibility: Is the system highly complex and would it be a nightmare for average skilled developers?
  • Code Stability / Volatility: Is the system’s code frequently changed? This implicitly means that you should not hand it to teams who are far away from the requirement-giving business departments.
  • Know-How Lock-In:
    • Which software systems bind best-cost developers because they and only they have worked in the code?
    • Which systems have already experienced team fluctuations - and are therefore more suitable for a hand-over because they have already gone through the painful measures to counteract knowledge monopolies?

Having a data-driven way would prove that you know how to proactively encounter your cost and risk challenges. You would have real-time answers with which you steer and could also report.

You would turn your management style upside down: from reactive fire-fighting to proactive actions. You would be able to identify risks before your customers, the business departments, start complaining about too costly or too slow IT delivery.

Gains
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use case - ctaDr. Bostjan Praprotnik

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