4 ways to run a leaner dev team

Covid-19 has brought many challenges for today's IT leaders, including continuing to drive new value without adding talent or increasing budget. Here's a new look at running lean.

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Doing more with less has long been the objective of running a lean tech organization, but now comes the age of COVID-19. IDC predicts a 2.7% drop in IT spending in 2020 with business leaders putting tech purchases and new initiatives on hold. Doing less with less is quickly becoming the COVID-19 normal for this year as IT budgets shrink, tech projects slow, and hiring freezes and layoffs squash hopes for new-hire relief. The challenge for the leaders of today’s tech organizations is weighty: continue to drive new value and fuel innovation without adding talent to the roster or dollars to the budget.

For development teams to succeed in this time of scarcity, they will have to learn to work differently. After the Great Recession, many IT organizations got leaner by taking advantage of offshore skills and resources. With the pandemic, the lesson will not be in offshoring, which many businesses already do. Instead, it will be a lesson in learning to emulate the leaner ways many distributed, offshore teams work: sharing resources across projects, leaning on professionals whose skills and experience are multifaceted, and embracing virtual collaboration tools.

If you’re looking to get the most from the development team you have in place, here are four lessons from the world of IT offshoring in how to do all you can with who and what you have.

Rebalance developer to tester ratio

For organizations using a traditional 2 to 1 developers to tester ratio, this is an opportunity to extend in the same way many offshoring teams do to the 3 developers to 1 tester ratio. Agile development, in all its speed and sprints, makes this stretch possible. Well-defined sprint plans embed testers in the team, streamlining and accelerating testing processes throughout development. With the tester working shoulder-to-shoulder with developers in every sprint — rather than waiting to test in the end phases of the lifecycle — the IT organization maintains both rigorous QA coverage and a leaner execution team.

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