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Assess and Monitor the Performance of Your Software Factory

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 “software factory” which is a structured organization that owns and maintains a “piece of software” and continuously provides new functionality as a never-ending series of software releases. You distribute the budget across teams and activities in the organization and it is you who is in the line of fire if releases are delivered late or with defects.

A “piece of software” could be:

  • An entire software product or IT application, i.e., a software that is perceived by the end-users as one entity. Examples: a desktop email program, a mobile app for podcasts, or an SAP system.
  • A software glued together with hardware (embedded system). Examples: Software for a distance-radar in a car or software for a printer.
  • A software component, i.e., a (more or less) standalone building block that is part of the aforementioned software types.

The work of your teams include:

  • Taking business requirements (features, change requests, …) as input
  • Writing new code and maintaining the existing code of the software
  • Delivering the software as a flow of tested and defect-free releases

Context

The use case applies to all types of software systems being written in any kind of programming language.

context

Pains

  • Too often, your teams deliver behind promised schedule - and even your experts cannot tell how to prevent this in future.
  • Too often, the delivered releases contain defects - and even your experts cannot tell how to prevent this in future.
  • You experience pressure from the business-side to create more value with the same budget. But you have no means to assess and benchmark the level of efficiency of your teams nor can you identify, locate and fight back inefficiencies.
  • You receive erratic or conflicting advice from your experts who are each biased due to their particular responsibility focus and due to the latest fire-fighting situation: One day, you may be told the solution is to heavily invest in removing technical debt. The next day, you may be advised to invest in test automation. Later, you may be told you need to hire more developers.
  • Your experts' advice usually follows a pattern similar to: “If we take away a significant part of the time for business value creation now and invest it into code cleanups and test automation instead, we will be much more productive tomorrow.” But no one can promise anything more concrete. So if you agree and follow one of those suggestions, you have no means to quantify the effect this investment has on the performance of your software factory.
Pains

Gains

It would be extremely valuable in your situation to …

  • Switch from reactive fire-fighting to a more farsighted, proactive way of managing your software factory.
  • Establish a data-driven 360°-view on the real effect of your changes on processes, methods, tools, or team structures in your software factory. This would deliver tangible answers to questions like: Was it a good idea to in-source the team from India? Was it a good idea to shorten the sprint cycle from 3 weeks to 2 weeks?
  • Compare the different teams or activity streams that you are responsible for. Identify who is best-in-class and transfer their best practices and knowledge across your entire organization.
Gains
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use case - ctaDr. Bostjan Praprotnik

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