Developers all too often don’t understand the business case of clients, leaving a gap between the different perspectives on productivity.

Traditionally, developer performance has been measured by on-time delivery, neglecting individual contributions. Unlike other industries, software development often lacks personalised metrics, relying on team outputs like velocity, story points, and deployment frequency.

These metrics ensure projects are delivered on time and meet specifications, but they neglect the human element. Team members need to share a common vision aligned with project goals. However, this intangible dynamic is difficult to measure.

At a recent SAICTA Digital Dawn event, Corneil Clasen, MD of Stackworx, addressed these challenges and proposed a solution: fostering a sense of collective momentum within the development team. He describes this as a “shared sense of forward motion and vision.” This momentum fuels team motivation and innovation, leading to project success beyond simply meeting requirements.

Clasen explains: “The slower you’re moving, the less you think you can do.” Momentum creates a sense of urgency, boosting confidence and morale, which is crucial for projects spanning months. While long-term plans are vital, unforeseen delays make accurate forecasting challenging. Momentum is beneficial not just for developers but also for non-technical stakeholders.

“The momentum metric acknowledges that development projects are long-term endeavours with milestones to be reached within deadlines. By gauging momentum, teams can gauge stakeholder satisfaction and ensure alignment with client expectations at key junctures. Clasen refers to these as “story points in a sprint.”

Story points help maintain focus and alignment with the client’s vision. They also allow for measuring team dynamics by setting intervals to assess progress, team member morale, and stakeholder feedback.

A focus on momentum promotes teamwork and collaboration. Companies should provide physical, emotional, and technical support to cultivate a positive attitude and long-term buy-in from both developers and stakeholders. This momentum-driven approach equips teams to overcome challenges and achieve success.

The momentum metric strengthens collaboration between ICT, business, and education. These sectors work together to create our digital infrastructure. Businesses rely on development teams to create innovative solutions, requiring a common language for alignment. The momentum metric provides this common language, enabling all parties to understand and work towards a shared goal.

Higher education plays a crucial role in equipping ICT graduates with the skills to work effectively in diverse teams and align with broad visions that address stakeholder needs. Only when aligned with the ICT industry and business can education prepare graduates for successful careers in ICT.

Persistent challenges in these relationships need to be addressed through collaborative discussions among stakeholders. SAICTA’s mission becomes even more relevant as its platforms, like the Digital Dawn events and October Conference, highlight key issues affecting all parties in the local ICT landscape.

As the sector evolves, it’s crucial to address obstacles to aligning stakeholder interests and identify how all parties can implement momentum metrics to achieve a shared goal.