Number One rule of Software Development – Its the People Dammit!

As promised in my last post, this post will be all about what I believe to be the number one rule of Software Development. Now there are many factors that go into great Software Development projects and products but ultimately I think the best results have come from the same factor. The people. But specifically it is a certain type of person and focus in those people.

Protegra is very focused on finding the right people to fit into our team because we understand that at its heart Software Development is a social activity. Like any other social activity or team sport, I believe the most important attribute is the drive to strive for continuous improvement. If you strive to be better than you were yesterday, you won’t have to worry about being better than other people. That will eventually take care of itself.

A phrase a fellow Protegran used was ‘Student of the Game’. If you have Students of the Game, I have no doubt the your project and your company will succeed. Students of the Game bring the following skills to bear on a project:

  1. No personal Ego
  2. Relentless pursuit of new ideas and innovation
  3. Fearless approach to trying new things
  4. Constant focus on getting better
  5. Unquenchable thirst for knowledge
  6. Deep involvement in the community and mentoring
  7. Contagious & Passionate approach to all aspects of work
  8. They are Brave
  9. Client Focus

This Student of the Game approach is core to the Agile approach. And also at its core they must trust that co-workers at all levels have their backs as they are brave. This is crucial. If this does not happen the risk taking stops and the Students of the Game leave for another company or just execute in a safe manner that never challenges the status quo.

But you may ask, ‘Terry, if I have these students of the game, won’t I be adding risk, constant change, and constantly gold-plating solutions?’ These Students of the Game must be students of the technology, process, and business acumen. We are not just talking about the technical Students of the Game. These Students of the Game need to be balanced across the facets of the project.

Just like anything else, these passions also need to be moderated. And the most important moderation is that all these improvements need to be tempered and grounded in value for the client. As we pursue these ideas, if our focus is solely on value for the client we won’t be led astray. We should never be doing anything just for the sake of trying something new. It has to have expected benefits for the client.

So how do you find these Students of the Game? They will be wearing the white hats…. 🙂

One thought on “Number One rule of Software Development – Its the People Dammit!

  1. Great blog Terry. You are so right about this. It is amazing how many organizations fail to practice it. It sounds good but it is hard to implement on a daily basis without having conviction.

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