3 min read
“The software industry is a great example of an industry where the responsible thing to do is not always the easy thing to do.” – Bill Gates
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Uncle Ben, Spider-Man
When you are hired to work for someone else, it is essential to prioritize their interests in your work. The organization, its customers, and your team trust that you have their interests at heart.
In the rapidly evolving world of software development and digital product companies investing in digital transformation, cross-functional product delivery teams often grapple with effectively managing four critical aspects of their products: features, technical debt, risks (security), and defects.
Moving Beyond the Feature Factory Mindset Today
Despite the widespread adoption of agile, lean, and DevOps practices, an excessive focus on delivering new features can lead to technical debt and deprioritized defects, ultimately hampering the team’s efforts and overall product quality. This misalignment of priorities and culture is often the result of overdominant voices influencing the end product.
Showcasing Security, Quality, and Performance as Core Product Features
One solution to this challenge lies in cultivating a team mindset and culture that values risk (security), quality, and performance (technical debt) as integral aspects of the products delivered to customers. As one Product Manager insightfully mentioned in a podcast, he and his team view quality, performance, and security as core “features” of their products.
To effect lasting change in team culture, we must foster collaboration and alignment across all roles, working together towards a shared purpose and goals. This balanced approach to feature development, technical debt management, risk mitigation, and defect resolution can lead to a more purposeful alignment of goals and exceptional customer products.
Introducing the Software Engineer’s Code of Conduct and Responsibilities to Product Delivery
As a software engineer hired to craft and deliver software on behalf of my team, my organization, and our customers, I will:
- Strive for excellence: I will produce high-quality implementations using the best of my abilities and skills at the time, and I will speak up when quality is compromised or overlooked.
- Foster collaboration: Actively collaborate with team members to share knowledge and achieve collective goals, recognizing that teams – not individuals – deliver software.
- Embrace testing and continuous improvement: Implement all required automated tests, follow test-driven development practices, and actively participate in pull request code reviews to ensure high code quality and incorporate feedback before deploying to production.
- Prioritize security: Ensure code is secure and adheres to best practices to minimize risks and vulnerabilities before production and address any existing vulnerabilities in the code I work on as part of my daily routine.
- Manage technical debt: Regularly refactor code to maintain readability, optimize performance, and minimize accumulated technical debt, speaking up for any debt that is being ignored.
- Use my voice: Feel safe speaking out when the other five responsibilities are neglected, and seek alignment from the team to understand why.
- Protect intellectual property and responsibly use AI: I recognize the benefits of leveraging AI in software development. However, I will act responsibly to protect my organization’s intellectual property. I will not share proprietary information or code without proper authorization and will ensure that AI technologies are used ethically and in compliance with applicable regulations.
Adopting these principles for software engineers working in cross-functional teams can help prioritize a balanced approach during product planning. This will lead to consistent production of high-quality, secure, and performant software while avoiding a backlog of risks, defects, and technical debt that can result from constantly adding new features.
I invite your perspective on my posts. What are your thoughts?.
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- Agile Software Delivery: Unlocking Your Team’s Full Potential. It’s not the Product Owner. December 29, 2022 by philc