Software Development: New report offers high-value insights

September 28, 2016

By Steve Mezak

Accelerance sponsored a new survey and report – The Study of Product Team Performance 2016 – which offers some high-value insights for software product companies, independent software vendors and other product teams. Whether you outsource product and software development or hire your own team, the study’s critical performance indicators are a must-read. The report can help any development team meet company expectations and deliver highly successful and profitable products.

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The research – produced and co-presented by Actuation Consulting – dives into the product development mechanics that high-performing organizations embrace. It also looks at how to improve the effectiveness of a product team, methodologies for increasing a product’s profitability, the success of outsourced/distributed teams and user-experience teams, among other topics.


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The study resonates with software and technology companies, as well as other vertical markets that develop software products, because it’s based on data from these types of businesses. Overall, more than half (52.1 percent) of respondents work for companies with technology as their primary focus, and other segments include: services (24.1 percent), consumer products (9.7 percent), education (5.1 percent) and government (1.6 percent).

SoftwareSurvey.pngImprove Your Product Team’s Effectiveness

The Study of Product Team Performance 2016 considers the product development mechanics that high-performing organizations embrace, and reveals key factors of a product or software development team’s success. The study’s analysis shows strong correlations with high performance when organizations:

  • Effectively prioritize their backlog;
  • Have a clear definition of “done” within the team;
  • And don’t over emphasize development costs when prioritizing requirements, amongst other critical performance indicators (download the report to discover all of the indicators).

The third point listed above – effective teams not placing too much emphasis on development costs as a criterion for prioritizing product features – is worth noting. The study says that teams that do place an emphasis on development costs are more likely to underperform. Certainly, complex software features take more time and money to implement, yet, an over-emphasis on the cost of development in general can be detrimental. For example, don’t hire the cheapest software outsourcing firm you can find because, in the end, you may “pay the price” via project delays, costly mistakes, bad code and technology, and more. Instead, focus on bringing on the best, most highly skilled engineering staff to get the job done right. This is where Accelerance excels: connecting SMBs that need software development services with the most qualified outsourcing firms on the planet.

"The study says that teams that do place an emphasis on development costs are more likely to underperform. Certainly, complex software features take more time and money to implement, yet, an over-emphasis on the cost of development in general can be detrimental."

Three Stand-Outs

In the survey, three potential solutions stand out amongst respondents’ answers on how to improve a product team’s effectiveness. These include:

    1. Bring on highly skilled engineering staff (40.2 percent)
    2. Improve cross-department communication (45.3 percent)
    3. Provide training (34.6 percent).

The answer that the lowest percentage of survey respondents see as a solution to improve a product team’s effectiveness is “increasing the number of project managers or scrum masters” (11 percent).

Two of the top three solutions (the first and the third) can be provided by good software development outsourcing companies. Indeed, outsourcing is an ideal and cost-effective way to bring on highly skilled engineering staff, and it can also eliminate the need for training – you can simply hire a great team that’s ready to go. Other solutions that successful outsourcing companies and their teams provide include: powerful tools and automation, additional user experience staff (UX designers), and additional testing/QA staff.

Indeed, increasing a product or software development team’s effectiveness is critical, but increasing a team’s product profitability is also a key factor. The study covers this as well. A total of 52.1 percent of the survey’s respondents name Agile/Scrum as the methodology most often associated with increasing their team’s product profitability. Blended (some Waterfall, some Agile) is a distant second most frequently given answer with 22.4 percent of responses. While Waterfall (3.5 percent) and Kanban (2.8 percent) fall short, a significant 15.7 percent of respondents say they are unclear which methodology is associated with growing their product’s profitability.

Outsourced/Distributed Teams and Meeting Expectations

While 43 percent of the survey’s respondents indicate their product team consistently succeeds in meeting company expectations, the survey shows 57 percent of respondents say their product teams experience some difficulty in regularly meeting organizational expectations.

If your in-house team is failing to succeed or meet expectations, perhaps it’s time to outsource some or all of your software development labors. Then you can focus on higher-level efforts related to your product, such as planning the overall product roadmap, defining the general architecture, deciding how the features should work, determining the user interface, etc.

Accelerance knows quite well that product development teams outside the country can be highly successful. In fact, almost 60 percent of respondents of The Study of Product Team Performance 2016 say their companies work through outsourced/distributed teams outside of their country. Of these, 11.9 percent report that distributed teams are more effective (10.3 percent) or significantly more effective (1.6 percent) than domestic development teams.  This demonstrates that some companies may use software outsourcing very effectively, while other companies might need help finding a better outsourcing partner. Accelerance can assist.

To learn how Accelerance can connect your enterprise with effective software development teams from the most qualified outsourcing firms on the planet, contact us.

And be sure to download the new report, The Study of Product Team Performance 2016, to get more valuable insights and to learn all of the critical performance indicators of successful product and software development teams.

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Download the report

Produced and co-presented by Actuation Consulting, The Study of Product Team Performance 2016 dives into the product development mechanics of that high-performing organizations embrace.
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