I have observed several recessions including the Dot.Com debacle and more recently the financial crisis. They are not fun. One of the classic behaviors of enterprises (big and small) during these times is to manage the bottom line through the one lever they have the most direct control over, cost. According to statistics published on Fortunly, about 300,000 software development related jobs are outsourced annually in the United States – a downturn will exacerbate this flow. In order to meet the new austerity that awaits us on the other side of the worst of COVID-19, software development teams and organizations are going to have to re-focus on measuring and improving three core capabilities. They are:

  1. Efficiency is a measure of how much-wasted effort there is in a process or system. A high-efficiency process has less waste. Cost of work delivered is a measure of efficiency.
  2. Dependability, for a team, is a reflection of availability and reliability. Said differently, a team is dependable if they say what they will do and do what they say. Story escape rate is a measure of dependability.  
  3. Effectiveness is an assessment of whether a process, product or project is doing the right thing when compared to the goals of the organization. Quality and satisfaction are measures of effectiveness.

Teams need to meet the needs of their organization by effectively balancing all three capabilities. Maximizing one at the expense of another only makes sense if that is what is needed by the organization and the team’s clients. 

Next: Efficiency as a goal.