The most common mistake with starting a project is choosing the wrong technology. Companies look mostly internally for advice when dealing with complex problems, however the internal developers will only choose based on what they are comfortable to work with, their legacy experience (especially for long time employees) and not what would be the best solution. How confident are you that your HR strategy to only employ A-Class employees is working, thus allowing your departments to avoid innovation stagnation and the forthcoming risks?
- Be aware of all technologies, but specialize in a few
- Fight for and reward developers that push the boundaries and move out of the tech comfort-zone to move things forward.
- Using the wrong technology or missing out on upcoming trends will damage your company’s reputation.
- Want to save money? Hire few but pay more.
- Get a Partner but make sure they are there to help and add value rather than cash out.
What is your technology stack strategy?
To be able to choose the correct technologies for your project, developers should have a broad knowledge of most current existing technologies. When starting a new project is important that you have prepared clear requirements that allow the best tech to be used. Are you making a small internal tool? Is the tool supposed to scale for the millions of users? These are important things to know in advance to allow developers to make the correct choices. The purpose of doing so is to avoid wasting money mid-project. What is your upskilling strategy? What is the budget for trainings and how many employees are really enrolled and follow the newest trends to push your organisation forward? Only when dealing with developers that constantly apply themselves and continue to self-improve, you will be able to confidently let them choose the tech-stack without fearing for the future. This is due to the rapid development and innovation of the IT-sector. What could have been the best technology 2 years ago, doesn’t have to be best today. Specialising in a specific technology stack allows a developer to build a solution at higher speeds, important here is that the development team is able to realise the whole project setup, from server to front end.
What is the Business Impact of the Tech Comfort Zone?
A typical problem that companies with a longer history have, is that their developers reached the comfort-zone. This is a zone where the developer stops self-development and is just happy with the current situation they’re in. A common result is when they are asked to deal with a specific issue, they will use the technology they are able to do and not necessarily the tech you would require. What are the steps you can do to mitigate this problem:
- Outsource legacy projects to give your development team the space to innovate.
- Up-skilling of core people and giving them direct accountability.
- Co-developing a new project with an experienced partner, thus pushing boundaries for the development team.
What is the cost of a wrong strategical decision when choosing technologies?
While big companies like Apple, Google and Amazon constantly thrive to pick or create the technology perfect for the project, there are many cases of where an app should have been built to radiate confidence, but ended up looking poorly due to the lack of skill and creativity on the side of the developer and the misplaced confidence from the employer. A great example of this failure is when a West-European government hired a single person to create an app + web portal that should help people find healthier recipes. On https://zekergezond.be/ you can see how having used the wrong stack caused the app to look & feel bad; thus turning people away from using it. In this case they made the choice to use a Progressive Web App, this is a website which adapts to the device you are using. While it might have been sufficient for just the web portal, it had disastrous results for the app. Instead, a more native look & feel would have been in place. To save time & effort they could have used a modern mobile framework such as NativeScript. Such technologies allow developers to compile real native apps for both Android and iOS, while being able to reuse a large portion of the code for the online portal. By picking the correct technology stacks, the following would have been improved:
- Lifecycle: Since your code actually compiles, you ensure fewer issues to arise in the future and ease maintainability.
- Professional look inspires confidence in the app and helps users to stay with your project.
- Avoiding bad press. You only have one chance to make a good impression.
Want to save money? Hire few handpicked professionals and pay more.
A solution would be to hire less developers, but train and pay them more. Additionally make sure that you do not pick random developers, but handpick a few professionals. The result will cause your software to be more bug-free, more professional and faster developed. In the current world where there is an insane demand for great developers, you could also always choose a trustworthy partner to give valuable tech advises and owns the know-how your company would like to on board. Make a project together and let your people assume responsibility and learn fast by doing, while business continuation is not disrupted.