Long story short – like many IT, business, and other niches, the field of software engineering definitely takes on a new shape. The global COVID-19 commotion just won’t leave things as they used to be. Yes, any successful commercial, product-delivering activity has always had strong “customer focus” at its core. Nowadays, however, this focus needs to be shifted to the next, paramount level.
Why so? You guessed it – most everybody started shopping and ordering services online. First, people were forced to do so by the threat of getting the “world-renowned virus”. And now, more smartphone/tablet/PC owners as well as various establishments than ever have a great need in getting assets and delivering their products/services remotely.
The Increased Need for New Remote Software
Loan companies, insurance and financial establishments, pharmacies, regular groceries – you name it. Everyone is in dire need of their own dedicated software. More and more areas of service and production start to depend on software.
This sort of revolution in demand gradually changes the common meaning of software engineering as it is. Along with that, developers’ approaches must be adjusted so that the major focus falls on two things:
- Full-on emphasis on the customer perspective. The vast majority of software providers are used to well-tried-and-tested Agile approaches. These common methodologies, however, need to be directed more in the end user’s favor. Thus, development teams should focus more on the particular user wants and needs rather than on written tech requirements. Delivered solutions should be likable.
- Greater focus on the market environment. The modern software engineering market is fiercer than ever. That’s why providers should also put a huge emphasis on creating utterly competitive products and meeting market requirements.
Thus, the two major things that determine the ultimate success of your software engineering technology are end customer perception and market competitiveness.
Let’s figure out every essential stage you need to enhance and reimagine in your regular product delivery practice.
Delicately adjusted product creation strategy
The major takeaway points you need to determine here are that:
- your TA either can or cannot interact with the end product freely – from any place, at any time;
- you may or may not be able to cover certain distribution and interaction channels (web, mobile, streaming, etc.);
- your solution’s interface may or may not be ultimately intuitive so that users can get around it without any hints;
- the user experience you offer may be functional and high-performance, yet lack wholesomeness and user attraction.
Settle these points – see what you are capable of and what points of audience reach you have. Based on this, you will be able to create something with a heavy emphasis on user needs.
MVPs & product owner input are more important than ever
Product owners should forget the principle of “pay for the services and wait idly for the product delivery”. Instead, they should be closely involved in analyzing the market, building a big picture of the end product, and outlining the development cycle roadmap.
Thus, a product owner gets exactly the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) they expect, passing it to real users for feedback. The thing here is to get a grasp on shifting customer preferences and needs, adapting product iterations dynamically based on the given feedback.
Remote whiteboarding is crucial
The necessary shift of practices toward remote covers your regular working force, too. You need to have efficient ways of planning workflow and cooperating with dedicated teams that are situated in other cities, countries, etc. Fortunately, there is no shortage of great tools for that available on the market, like:
- Whiteboard Fox – a simple, concise solution for real-time briefings and planning meetups;
- GoToMeeting – a whiteboarding tool out of the whole “GoTo” platform of collaborative capabilities;
- ezTalks – a prominent solution for online conferences and get-togethers with many flexible features.
These aren’t really game-changers, however, and having these tools at hand alone is only half the work. What you need to do is set the mood of your team for balanced, motivated workflow cycles. To do that, you can:
- ask everyone to introduce themselves (just say “Hello”) in the chat during every other meeting;
- make summarizing calls at the end of each workday;
- offer various self-education courses and streams to help employees develop professionally or redirect their minds onto something else other than work;
- checklists, more checklists!
Go for cloud
Migrating your existing software systems to cloud, you simply go hand in hand with the times. Cloud migration nowadays is synonymous with modernization as a whole. On top of that, this is a sufficient, advanced way to keep your assets and offers remote and all-around available.
Cloud gives your business more flexibility. Getting a reliable, secure cloud storage provider services or organizing your own cloud, you get a centralized reference point for all employees. No matter where they are situated and when they prefer to work.
On top of cloud migration, another hyped-up thing to do to make business more advanced and versatile is refactoring. Particularly, taking your existing solutions based on the monolithic code and transforming them into microservices makes them much more available and accessible.
This approach ultimately reduces time-to-market as well as the complexity of users getting a hang of delivered solutions.
The new, rapidly-boosted demand for and changes to software engineering is due to your local clinic’s need to remotely consult and supply sick people with medication; your neighborhood school’s need to provide education for everybody at home or in the hospital; your employees’ need for flexible schedules, etc.
It is only obvious that you should not ignore and avoid shifting software engineering practices. Just focus on the user perspective, remote opportunities, and market nuances. You’ll be more than able to keep your head above the water.