The CIO’s Biggest Concerns About Data Science

cio concern about data science

Repeated case studies show that data science puts companies at a significant advantage over their less tech-savvy peers.

Why, then, are CIOs hesitating to integrate it into their planning strategies?

The gap between enthusiasm and adoption is startling.

While 80% of C-level executives think data science will be a transformative force for enterprise, only one in ten deliberately use it.

48% describe analytics as critical to the decision-making process, yet a bare 7.4% say they use analytics to guide corporate strategy.

What is making otherwise savvy executives disregard their own advice about embracing data science?

What holds CIOs back?

Uncertainty about integrating data science with their current technology

Some companies are held back from evolution by a sort of “tech inertia”.

The analytics infrastructure they have in place is dense, inflexible, and too outdated to allow newer methods to be incorporated without a serious structural overhaul.

Changing the existing technology would cause a disruption in productivity while new systems are built.

Rather than throw their company into disarray, CIOs push data science to the fringes of their organization.

Resistance to change has proven costly.

More than half of executives say their analytics infrastructure is too rigid, and 75% say they’ve been unable to fulfill a business request due to that inflexibility.

Over time the cost in failed projects surpasses the cost of modernization.

Besides the impact on productivity, frustration from dealing with inadequate technology drives the best talent away.

It’s a common complaint of the 20% of tech industry employees who are headhunted from their company every year.

Solution: If complexity is the concern, start simple.

Adopting data science doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking.

There are embedded analytics in nearly every piece of enterprise software released in the last few years, so chances are good that your company already has access to some.

Einstein Analytics, for example, is incorporated into Salesforce with no need to install components separately.

It’s ready to go right out of the box.

Reluctance to train senior staff

In order for data to become part of the decision-making process, leaders need to be able to interpret that data.

Training takes time, and that’s a precious commodity for executives with heavy workloads.

CIOs have historically had trouble convincing their colleagues in the C-Suite to free up time for learning about enterprise analytics.

CIOs themselves could use some training.

46% were unsure whether they could interpret results generated by data science.

They see the potential but aren’t confident they have the skillset to fully exploit the technology, giving rise to fears that they won’t get a reasonable ROI.

Some companies try to entice their staff into doing extended professional development during their personal time.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told the New York Times last year, “People who do not spend five to ten hours every week in online learning will obsolete themselves with the technology.”

He sweetened the pot for AT&T employees with a generous tuition reimbursement program.

Such an approach is unlikely to work for a C-level executive.

They often don’t have a spare ten hours a week to devote to study on an ongoing basis.

Given a choice between neglecting data science and sacrificing what little downtime they have for the foreseeable future, nearly all executives will choose to keep working with the methods they have.

Solution: The priority for CEOs is being able to read analytics results well enough to make data-driven decisions.

Instead of pushing for a full analytics course, clear an afternoon to go over a few of the most useful data science techniques with an executive focus.

Keep examples in context, show how the techniques translate to actionable advice, and the C-suite will see the value of data science.

Regression analysis is a common place to start, and for good reason.

It’s a simple concept that can be used to suggest answers to problems or double-check a “gut feeling.”

There are levels of complexity, but at its core regression analysis explores the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables.

For example, a manager wondering whether to keep a branch open an hour later could use this method to create a graph of sales volume by hour.

If most revenue comes in during the last few hours, that extra hour could translate to a healthy profit.

Source: Harvard Business Review

A customized analytics dashboard could also make interpreting data more accessible.

These programs pull data from enterprise apps and tools like Safesforce, MailChip, Google Analytics, Github, and more, then present it via a single interface.

CIOs can drum up excitement in the technology by soliciting input on the dashboard during the planning phase.

Feeling invested in the project increases end user participation rates, raising the likelihood of overall project success.

Price

Price isn’t as high on the list of data science barriers as one might expect, but it’s still a major concern.

42% of executives say data science initiatives are too expensive.

The cost of the technology itself combined with increased payroll from hiring data scientists looms large in their minds.

It doesn’t help that there’s a lot of uncertainty about how much it costs to begin using data science.

Price is intensely dependent on a project’s scope; one company might spend a million dollars while another invests only $10,000.

Solution: Price is the easiest problem to address.

Companies no longer need to invest in racks of servers and space to put them in.

These days most analytics are done in the cloud. It’s cheap, fast, and suitable for rapid scaling.

Better yet, they’re typically offered as a subscription service which lowers the upfront cost of adoption. Price is a major part of why 53% of data-driven enterprises use cloud analytics.

Disappointment with results from Big Data

It has to be said: in the past collecting and aggregating data didn’t live up to the hype.

When the Big Data craze was at its height promoters promised huge profits that never materialized.

As a result barely half of CIOs now believe they have the ability to generate any sort of meaningful business insights from their data.

The majority say they’ve experienced a failed Big Data project that soured them on further data science initiatives.

Big Data may have taken all the blame, but to be fair over 88% of projects failed because of addressable issues.

Low end user adoption, unresolved conflicts with existing technology, and budgeting problems have more to do with poor management than immature technology.

Also, Big Data and data science are not the same thing.

Having a failed Big Data project does not imply someone will have a negative experience with data science in general.

Big Data refers to the concept of having enormous stores of structured and unstructured data on a scale that can’t be easily processed by traditional manual methods.

Data science is an interdisciplinary field encompassing a variety of scientific methods and technologies used to draw complex insights from any kind of data.

Machine learning falls under data science, for example.

Solution: Good project management is key to successful data science initiatives.

Carefully controlling the process from the first requirements gathering phase to the final sprint can create a solution which increases end user adoption and meets the specific needs of a company, including consideration of existing technology.

Concern over contractor stability

Once CIOs begin seriously considering data science they encounter another hurdle.

Data science and artificial intelligence companies are hard to find.

Rather, they’re easy to find but notoriously unreliable.

“There are probably 100 or more [machine-learning companies] out there,” said Richard Sherlund of Barclays.

“They’re just so small, you know? You’ve got half a dozen or a dozen data scientists that get together, and [the companies are] for sale now at $100 to $200 million. You buy it, and then they leave, you’re kind of hosed.”

Losing a contractor is always a risk of software development.

It’s one of the major reasons given when companies won’t hire offshore developers.

The impact is felt a little more keenly in data science projects, which are more heavily composed of custom code that’s hard for “pinch hitter” developers to take over.

Solution: Most companies don’t need a specialized machine learning contractor.

All but the most individual needs can be handled by a web development who’s able to create the custom analytics dashboards mentioned above.

That’s a tricky process, but much easier and cheaper than building and training a machine learning engine from scratch.

CIOs who choose this approach can use normal evaluation criteria such as reputation and portfolio to assess potential development partners.

Conclusion

There’s no turning back the technology clock.

With data rapidly becoming as valuable as oil or gold, companies who don’t learn to exploit theirs will soon be outcompeted.

CIOs need to take a hard look at what’s holding them back and find a way to overcome their hesitations before their company is left in the metaphorical dust.

Interested in data science, but not sure where to start? Skeptical about how useful AI actually is for enterprise?

Wondering how to make a business case for integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into your company’s decision-making cycle?

Concepta’s new report “From Data to Decisions: How Businesses Can Gain a Competitive Edge from Artificial Intelligence” has the answers you need!

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CxO Series: What is the COO’s Role During the Shift in Digital Transformation?

coo digital transformation

As the CxO primarily concerned with logistics, the COO is central to the digital transformation process.

COOs might not lead digitization efforts- only 13% of them take the reins– but without their participation enterprise-level technology initiatives often fail.

They’re the ones with the practical experience to make a cultural shift take root and grow.

That experience is vital. Poor coordination is behind 80% of project failures, and failure is expensive.

For every billion dollars invested in IT technology, $112 million is lost to projects that fizzle out.

The COO can mitigate the risk of project failure by serving as the “voice of reason” within the company.

When the CIO brings a new system to the board room, it’s the COO’s responsibility to assess how well that project fits with current procedures. That’s been a part of the COO role for a long time, and it won’t change during a digital transformation.

What will change are the goals the COO uses to evaluate the company’s needs. Their priorities need to shift to better align with the new face of business.

These are the COO’s primary concerns during a digital transformation:

Partner with IT from the Start

IT used to be seen as a service-provider. They responded to technological requirements generated by leaders without much opportunity for input on what those requirements should be.

When the leadership did ask their opinion, it was generally for brand or spec recommendations.

Digital transformation requires that IT and the CIO be involved in the earliest stages of a project.

Only by working together from the start can appropriate technology and processes be woven into the foundation of a digital strategy, when it’s most cost-effective to make changes.

CIOs and COOs have a lot to offer each other. COOs are notoriously risk-averse when it comes to spending money.

They want the most reliable solution possible and tend to resist new technology until it’s proven itself.

Right now, with data analytics rapidly becoming the defining difference between companies that succeed and those that fall behind, that approach is flawed.

COOs who cultivate a relationship with their CIO can get a feel for what trends are ready for adoption.

On the flip side, CIOs sometimes become fixated on the absolute newest tech and how it can be used to gain a competitive edge.

They need the COO to balance their enthusiasm with practicality, weighing the expected ROI against the required investment (both in money and internal disruption).

Democratize data

Business intelligence is no longer the sole domain of IT.

Enterprise software now commonly features embedded analytics that offer deeper insight into operations and customer activity.

98% of companies report they encourage employees at all levels to base their business decisions on data, and these tools make that possible.

Analytics rely on large amounts of data to be useful, though, and for many organizations data isn’t readily available across departmental boundaries.

41% of companies have data which is too locked up in silos to be accessible by those outside the C-Suite.

Managers who have an idea that may benefit the company have to request permission to access data needed to check their hunch, and that takes time.

37% reported a delay of at least 24 hours is required for permissions to be granted. Some companies experience a lag of a week or more.

Data silos are sometimes the deliberate creation of IT leaders who worry that Shadow IT will compromise their data.

Other times they result from legacy systems that aren’t fully interlinked.

Whatever the reason for their existence, data silos stand in the way of progress.

COOs should work to find ways of sharing data that account for legacy systems and IT concerns.

A thorough data strategy that specifies the ways data can be used at every level will lower the risk of accidental exposure.

This has the side benefit of empowering managers to experiment with their expanded access to information, which makes them feel engaged and valued.

Find the right talent (and keep it)

Renee West, former CEO of Luxor and Excalibur resorts, said, “You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don’t have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life.”

Nowhere is that more true than in a digitally-driven company.

Technology is in constant change, and the best way to prepare for it is to attract and maintain solid talent.

However, 66 percent of companies say they have trouble with hiring and retention.

This is one part of the digital transformation where the COO can take the lead.

80% of employees would prefer to work for digital leaders, so the COO should develop hiring practices that showcase that aspect.

Augment salary bids with paid training, subscriptions to online trade journals, and attendance at industry conferences when possible.

Give some thought to updating training procedures for new employees, too.

Google gave their new hires a 15% boost in productivity just by creating an onboarding agenda that included digital training components.

Coordinate cross-platform efforts

Multiple platform usage is the rule, not the exception.

Customers might use a website to browse product information, head into a brick and mortar store for a hands-on test of the product, then tweet questions or complaints to the brand on Twitter.

Maintaining a strong cross-platform presence delivers a direct boost to the bottom line.

Aberdeen Group, Inc. found that companies with a strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies have an 89% repeat customer rate.

They also experience a 6% greater increase in year-over-year revenue than companies without multi-channel strategies.

To get on top of omnichannel efforts, the COO should address three areas in particular:

  • Train customer care agents in how to handle concerns across channels, including social media. Agents in all areas need to have the same information about prices, schedules, press releases, and so on.

  • Make customer information available to agents across channels (within the boundaries of privacy policies). 89% of customers complain about having to explain the same problem to different representatives, so agents should be able to see if a customer has already contacted the company through another channel.

  • Conduct regular audits of all channels to ensure the same “brand” is being universally represented. Focus especially on social media sites, which are sometimes manned by interns or lower-ranked employees without the authority to answer more than basic questions.

Partnership for the Future

Some COOs have worried about the growing involvement of CIOs in corporate strategy.

They see transformational CIOs as a risk to their own position, but in reality the CIO/COO team is a powerful combination.

Working together, they can create and implement a strategy that helps their organization grow into a digital leader.

Read how CEO, CIO, COO can join forces to embrace a digital transformation.

To learn more about how we can help you build a winning digital strategy, contact our team of experts today.

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CxO Series: What is the CIO’s Role in Becoming A Transformational Leader?

cio digital transformation

The digital revolution is affecting momentous change in every area of business, but few roles have seen as much disruption as the CIO.

Historically, the position had an internal focus with an emphasis on keeping the more technical aspects of operations from “leaking” into other areas.

Now, when there’s increasing need for all CxOs to embrace innovative technology within their sphere of operations, CEOs are turning to their CIOs for advice on how to profitably move forward with digital transformation efforts.

There’s been such a shift in how a CIO needs to operate that some companies have spun off new C-level titles to meet the demands.

Only 19% of digital transformations are being led by CIOs. 34% are given over to CMOs while CEOs take the lead on 27%.

Existing CIOs who resist their expanding responsibilities can find themselves pushed towards the IT margins while newcomers with marketing or strategy experience are given oversight of digital projects.

A true CIO needs more than strategic knowledge to succeed, though.

One of a CIO’s core functions is explaining complex technology in such a way that those without engineering degrees can understand the potential value added.

In order to do this, there must be a foundation of technical familiarity that’s outside the scope of a non-technical degree.

Those without it can fall prey to adopting immature technology, insufficiently committing to new procedures, and contributing to a conflicting snarl of new and legacy equipment.

The fact remains, however, that a CIO has to alter their perspective to cope with digital initiatives.

No longer can they limit their interest to technology; they need to understand how that technology will impact existing workflows and what needs are going unmet.

Ed Featherston, VP Principal Architect of Cloud Technology Partners, says, “Tech is not the destination, it’s the vehicle. Figure out where you are going first.”

Ed Featherston CIO

A growing number of CIOs- 45% on a 2016 survey– describe themselves as transformational. While every CIO innovates differently, there are some common characteristics that define what it means to be “transformational”.

Focus on Strategy

There’s an outdated point of view that CIOs shouldn’t concern themselves with larger business concerns and that their “place” is solely to implement technology as directed by the CEO/CXO.

That simply won’t work in a digitally driven company. CEOs need technical expertise in the planning phase if digital initiatives are going to succeed.

To that end, CIOs need to be active participants in the boardroom. It’s not enough to report on how IT is running and then wait for questions.

CIOs should contribute to discussions on marketing, security, data strategy, and any other area of operations where technology can increase efficiency.

Lead with a Data-Driven Approach

Nearly two thirds of senior executives base major decisions on instinct or experience rather than facts.

52% have ignored or minimized data they didn’t understand, and less than half of available relevant information is used in actual decision making.

Transformational CIOs embrace their power to change this trend.

They actively advocate for data-driven decision making throughout their organization.

This should include the creation of a system to make data from enterprise analytics more accessible to non-technical CxOs.

Believe in a Customer-Centric Philosophy

The end goal of technological innovation should be profit, and the path to profit is ensuring customer satisfaction.

Study after study has shown that customers will pay more for good service and remain with companies they trust to provide it even when prices fall elsewhere.

CIOs are an integral part of providing that service, yet traditionally they rarely considered the customer directly.

Instead they thought in projects: update the customer complaint department, fix these problems with the website, etc.

Be Proactive

Traditionally, CIOs oversaw a list of requirements and requests for improvements generated by others.

They were able to suggest new technology, but it wasn’t common for them to have input into the larger enterprise strategy. Because of this, they tended to be very reactive- find a problem, fix it, and move on.

There is no room in the digital revolution for CIOs with a reactive philosophy. Things move so quickly that small issues can quickly snowball into large ones.

Dealing with the fallout of mistakes is much more expensive than fixing systems that lead to those mistakes.

“The role of the traditional CIO is in decline. As more organizations recognize the strategic value that technology plays, the demand for the CIO shifts from traditional to transformational.” – Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA.

Transformational CIOs don’t wait for things to break before addressing them. They go out among the departments and listen to the user-level view of the company, such as what systems aren’t working (and which ones do) and what information or capabilities departments wish they had.

They also scan for promising innovations with a mindful eye to their company’s needs.

Being aware of upcoming advancements helps assess how early they can adopt new technology, and early adoption is becoming critical to gaining competitive advantage.

“More than ever in IT, you can’t wait to watch the next thing happen. You need to be in the middle of it,” says Gerri Martin-Flickinger, the former CIO of Adobe.

cio characteristics traditional transformational
Source: AVOA

Be Willing to Share Data

In the early days of technology IT departments kept data sequestered for protection from both external bad actors and well-meaning corruption from unskilled internal users.

The average level of technological savviness has increased since then, but many IT departments still tend to be miserly with data.

Transformational CIOs recognize that data silos are massive roadblocks for data science initiatives and other technological advancements.

They work to allow as much access as security and regulatory requirements allow. The goal should be to say yes to internal information requests absent a compelling reason why.

This empowers innovation and experimentation among departments and fosters an environment where people feel their contributions are valued.

Demonstrate an Eye for Business

Most of all, CIOs have to demonstrate their value to CEOs as business partners, not just IT leaders.

43% of CEOs view their IT department- including CIOs- as service providers rather than potential partners in driving innovation.

Only 27% of CIOs report that they have this kind of relationship within their enterprise.

To gain the cooperation of the CEO and CXO, CIOs need to demonstrate an understanding of how technology can drive business.

Ralph Loura at Rodan + Fields says: “The mode of CIOs in the past was to keep your head down, deliver what you’ve promised, and stay out of trouble. But that approach doesn’t work anymore. If you want to have an impact in your company, have a point of view that sometimes challenges the status quo but do the work required to make that point of view an informed one.”

Parting Thoughts

Digital transformation isn’t optional for companies that want to remain relevant, and CIOs are the partners CEOs need to make that change- so long as they’re willing to undergo transformations themselves.

By learning more about the business side and taking an operations-centered view of innovation, CIOs can become powerful agents of change within their organizations.

To read more about how CIOs can fit into the company’s business strategy, read CEO, CIO, COO Join Forces to Embrace a Digital Transformation.

If you’re ready to be the transformational agent your company needs, reach out to Concepta today.

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CxO Series: What is the CEO’s Role in Measuring Digital Transformation Success?

ceo digital roi

Digital transformation is inevitable, according to an MIT survey of C-suite executives.

Almost 90% of respondents expect at least a “moderate” digital disruption within the next few years, and many of them are already gearing up for the change.

deloitte digital disruption
Source: Deloitte University Press

56% of CEOs told Gartner they’ve realized increased profits from digital improvements, and 41% have seen an increase in market share.

Despite these gains, some leaders are uncertain about managing digital transformations. Their main point of contention is the difficulty in tracking performance.

Digitization involves retraining staff, reshaping corporate culture, and redirecting workflows into more efficient patterns as much as it does investing in new technology.

The variety of changes effected by the process means that the usual KPIs can be interpreted in misleading ways.

Such inconsistency makes it hard to assess the true value of digital transformation. This perceived lack of data is a serious challenge to adoption.

69% of CEOs cite uncertainty about expected ROI as a fear when putting together a business case for further investment.

Behind this lack of data is a simple yet pervasive fact.

The single most common reason companies have trouble assessing their digital initiatives is they they haven’t clearly outlined their definitions of success.

A Lack of Clarity

42% of CEOs describe their company’s business strategy as digitally driven, but there’s not a consensus on how those victories are being tracked.

In fact, 47% of CEOs had no metrics in place for evaluating the success of their digital transformation.

Charting revenue is the traditional indicator for most, though that method shouldn’t be used alone.

Without the CEO’s guidance as to what should be tracked, CFOs don’t separate digital profits from other revenue streams as a matter of course.

Only 49% do so, and 7% of those measure and publish their results.

Defining Metrics For Success

Creating assessment guidelines must be done on an individual basis. Every organization doesn’t adopt technology at the same pace, in the same order.

One might focus on improving internal procedures first while another upgrades their analytics software.

To accurately estimate the value added by digital transformation, leaders should tailor their criteria based on their data strategy and current level of digital integration.

These are some common areas of focus- besides revenue- that CEOs can look to for inspiration.

  • Conversions
  • Operational Costs
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Website Behavior
  • Corporate Climate

ceo areas of focus

Conversions

Judging revenue may be misleading, but web-originated conversions are a reasonable metric.

They also tend to be the easiest to showcase to shareholders or Board members who question the value of digital transformation.

There are several simple extensions that sort incoming traffic according to the campaign that generated it.

These extensions can follow visitors to the point of purchase, providing a clear visual of performance.

The percent of quote requests, live chats, and internet phone calls that result in a personal or phone meeting is also useful to track.

Operational Costs

A core aspect of digital innovation is automation. Repetitive and tedious steps can be managed or eliminated by machine learning programs and other software.

Some experts estimate that with the right combination of data science techniques, up to 90% of routine IT functions can be handled by machines instead of humans.

That may sound like bad news for employment, but companies overwhelmingly prefer to retrain employees rather than let them go.

They save money on labor even without reducing staff.

Consider this: IT professionals work an average of 49 hours a week with 18% putting in more than 60 hours. With routine tasks delegated to machines that overtime can be eliminated.

Plus, technicians have time to focus on upcoming projects rather than scrambling to keep up with housekeeping tasks.

CEOs may consider reduced payroll, lower utilities (and other costs associated with overworked staff) and benefits gained from “bonus projects” as part of their success metrics.

Customer Satisfaction

Gartner predicts that by 2020 customer experience will have overtaken all other factors to become the most important brand differentiator.

Consumers naturally gravitate towards retailers and other service providers who offer a low-stress interaction.

How can CEOs measure customer satisfaction without reading through surveys? Conversions are one way, but more telling would be a rise in customer engagement.

Organizations with good digital strategies experience 37% more online customer engagement than before their transformation.

gallup

Website Behavior

Tracking website behavior is particularly relevant when evaluating customer service chatbots, digital marketing campaigns, and other online programs.

Programs such as Google Analytics capture detailed website behavior that shows specific benefits gained through digitization.

Record information such as returning vs. new visitors, page views, time spent on site per visit, mobile users, and the overall path to either leaving the site or making a purchase.

Increases here are good indicators of a well-designed strategy.

It’s useful to note whether the bounce rate falls after implementing new digital marketing or customer acquisition programs.

If there’s a rise in customers leaving the site immediately after reading the landing page, this is a signal that something may be seriously wrong with the underlying algorithm.

Corporate Climate

The hardest to measure benefit of digital transformation is also the most powerful.

Companies who manage smooth digital transformations have happier employees, more creative low-level managers, and key leaders with a stronger commitment to the ultimate success of the company.

One way to measure this change is to check retention rates among mid to senior level executives.

This group holds a strong belief that digital technology is relevant to their future careers. 30% of them plan to leave their current position within the next year in order to hone their skills in a more innovative digital environment.

Having a significantly lower rate implies leaders are fulfilled by the company’s digital strategy.

Moving Forward

Creating these metrics will provide a more comprehensive view into digital transformation, giving CEOs the viewpoint needed to make sound decisions.

Much is at stake; a lack of cohesive leadership is a leading cause of the two thirds of data initiatives that fail.

Conversely, well-informed leaders are a key element of success.

A third of companies have long-term plans overseen by involved advocates at the C level.

CEOs who can evaluate their progress are in the right position to make sure their organization makes it into that prosperous third.

To have a sound strategy, CEOs should enlist the help of senior management. Read how a CEO, CIO, COO can join forces to embrace a digital transformation.

Concepta can help you take the measure of your digital transformation. Contact us for an in-depth consultation!

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Four Ways to Scale a Development Team

scale-a-development-team

The Paradox of Popularity is no joke. The more customers you have, the harder it is to provide all of them with the level of service that they have come to expect.

While you’re fixing bugs and building out enough capacity to avoid server latency, the requests for features and improvements will stack up. You’ll end up losing customers not because of anything you’ve done wrong, but just because you’re not improving the application fast enough to hold their interest.

To stay profitable in this tough market, you have to learn how to scale a development team fast enough to satisfy demand, but not so fast that the quality suffers. Many small businesses start out with small development teams by default and then suddenly find themselves swamped with more work than the initial team can handle. Hiring without a scaling strategy often ends up in disaster because the team dynamics disintegrate as you add in more variables.

Here are four critical considerations to scale up without the development team flying apart:

1. Match Up Personalities

From a rational standpoint, it would make sense to break up teams into technical abilities and match them to an architectural breakdown of the application. However, that almost never works.

What makes teams efficient and productive is when they can rely on each other, know what the others are trying to accomplish and feel comfortable enough to offer help. In order to accomplish this, though, you need to make sure your employees’ personalities match.

Unfortunately, you can rarely divide them up according to both their functions and their compatibility. Instead, break up the teams based on who works well with whom and then bring in the technical knowledge they need to fill in the gaps.

2. Start From the UX

The next most important consideration in scaling software development teams is the user experience. Instead of bringing together the Java experts or the back-end developers, bring together a unit that can improve the function of certain features, such as pulling in data from the web. After all, that’s what users care about in the end. As each customer advocate development team scales up, it will need a little bit of knowledge about every part of the whole to improve the experience.

3. Right-Size the Team

Typically, you can expect core teams to contain four to 12 developers. Any smaller and they will spend all of their time trying to bring in the knowledge they need, but any larger and coordination details eat away too much of the development time. You may be surprised to learn that many teams that are geographically dispersed but know how to effectively collaborate online perform better than locally-based teams.

4. Outsource the Brain Power

When it becomes clear that you don’t have enough manpower to adequately manage a rapidly increasing number of projects, it’s time to get help. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire full-time developers. Any changes to your existing software development team structure is going to impact how your employees work together.

You don’t have to measure productivity after a hiring event to observe how disruptive it is to team dynamics. When your company is under pressure to perform, the ramifications of hiring can unbalance the entire value chain.

The smartest way to dial up your software development team size without taking a major hit to productivity is to partner with a company that specializes in software development services on the fly. That way you’ll keep your productive teams intact and be ready to take advantage of your new-found popularity.

If you’re looking for someone to build an app for you or if you have questions, contact our team at Concepta and we’ll be able to help.

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