Regaining control during crunch time

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The stress affiliated with tight deadlines and tighter production cycles — aka “crunch time” — is experienced by employees and companies everywhere. While it may be tempting to pass this burden off to an agency and pay for your peace of mind, there is a way to regain control when you feel most in danger of losing it.

Why we lose control of application development
According to one survey of over 3,200 IT professionals across 28 industry segments, the challenges faced by application development teams are growing daily (source), with most of the challenges being related to a skill and capacity gap in the face of high demand:

  • 62% of IT managers report a large development backlog, with some having over ten apps awaiting development.
  • 44% of IT professionals find their development cycles to be excessively long, with 76% of respondents stating that custom applications take an average of at least three months to develop. In a world where technology is the differentiating factor between winners and losers, three months is an unacceptably long development cycle.
  • While 88% of respondents claimed mobile functionality is very important, 44% reported a gap in skills necessary to undertake mobile development.

Overcoming the skills gap
This last point is all too familiar to Doug Riches, VP of Architecture & Innovation at software development agency “One of the most common problems that lead companies to seek help with development is a skills gap,” explains Riches. “Forget best practices; many companies can’t begin to know what they don’t know. This is because most organizations don’t have experience building high-touch, mobile-optimized applications that adapt to a shifting technology landscape.”

But the benefits of even the best omnichannel, mobile-optimized application can be diminished if the competition beats you to the punch. Whether developed internally or with the help of an agency, first-to-market is everything.

It is because of that first-mover approach that the team at Rangle has adopted an Agile development framework. “Using Agile lets us develop applications in weeks, instead of months,” says Riches. “A great example of this is a project we worked on called The team at Rangle was able to take, an Angular and Ionic mobile application, to market in just two weeks. The result was a custom Dropbox-like experience with a zero-knowledge server data architecture.”

The difference between outsourcing and partnerships
It would be misleading to paint a picture of a world in which companies can solve all their software development headaches with a single phone call. Many companies that try are often unsatisfied with the results.

It’s not uncommon for development agencies to take a ‘throw it over the wall’ approach to outsourcing, says Riches. This is when the agency builds the software, and tells the client when they’re done. What ends up happening is that, inevitably, something doesn’t get interpreted properly, and there are problems with the final product. A lack of communication also leads to the agency not being kept in the loop on how their client’s business changes over the course of the project.

Finally, when the development agency and their client don’t work together, the client’s internal IT team never develops the knowledge required to maintain and update the software.

Skill + Capacity + Process = The Right Partnership’s partnership with a major airline demonstrates how a different partnership model built around close communication empowers internal IT teams to drive better business outcomes. The client was building a proof of concept to validate a technology within the company. worked with the client to establish a continuous delivery process on the front-end, which allowed it to rapidly test and share iterations. The result? New features were validated quickly and used to meeting business needs right away. Once the airline’s internal team saw the immediate benefits—and reduced headaches—of working in this fashion, the practices spread organically.

Are you interested in learning how to overcome skill and capacity gaps to accelerate your company’s development cycle and more effectively manage crunch time? Visit Rangle today.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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