6 tips to break app dev bottlenecks

IT earns its reputation from apps that fuel business change. Here's how to speed up delivery without clogging the system

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App dev acceleration technique No. 3: Humanity-based case handling

Michael Hugos described this technique in his excellent "Business Agility" (2009), although that wasn't what he called it. The concept is simple: When implementing any system, 20 percent of the cases handle 80 percent of the transactions, more or less, but every case takes about the same effort to implement.

The application team should deliver a system that handles the right 20 percent of the cases, (this is essential) knows how to kick out the rest for human beings to deal with, and allows those human beings to input the results back into the system when they're done -- that is, humanity-based case handling. If the system is programmed this way, IT ought to be able to deliver the system five times faster than if it had tried to deliver a complete system in the first release.

Two releases later, each taking care of the remaining 20 percent of the cases that handle the remaining 80 percent of the transactions, and the system will handle more than 99 percent of the situations that come up. The business should be able to handle the rest through humanity-based case handling without breaking a sweat.

App dev acceleration technique No. 4: Integration-free implementation

A fact IT professionals know but very few people bother to mention is that integration is where most IT complexity lives.

Most SaaS implementations aren't integrated into the rest of a company's applications portfolio -- and when it comes to shadow SaaS implementations, none of them are. This is the single biggest reason SaaS implementations have a reputation for being quick and easy.

As it turns out, given a choice between speed and integration, many business managers are quite content to live with manual rekeying -- so offer them the same alternative when IT is involved. They won't take you up on it, but that's OK. At least you'll have offered an in-house implementation that's just as quick and easy, and they'll know where all of the extra time and effort goes.

App dev acceleration technique No. 5: Only launch fully staffed projects

Here's something you can use from Goldratt's critical chain methodology, even if you don't use anything else from it. Goldratt defined "fully staffed" to mean that a project never waits for a team member to become available.

If the business only runs as many concurrent projects as it can fully staff, it will deliver more results in the same period of time than if it asks staff to juggle multiple project responsibilities. Because projects never wait for staff, each one will finish more quickly.

App dev acceleration technique No. 6: Solve it without information technology

More than 10 years ago, in my old "Survival Guide" column, I described a restaurant that sells soup in cups, bowls, and bottomless bowls (that is, all you can eat).

The challenge: Design the information technology needed to keep track of which customers should get free refills.

The solution: Don't use information technology at all. Use different-shaped bowls.

Just because project team members work in IT, that doesn't mean their imaginations should be limited to information technology. Sometimes, the only reason simple solutions remain undiscovered is that nobody is looking for them.

This story, "6 tips to break app dev bottlenecks," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bob Lewis' Advice Line blog on InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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