The developer shortage and its effect on digital roadmaps

Thursday, November 25, 2021
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More and more, businesses are removing paper-based systems and developing integrated, often cloud-based, digital solutions. These digital transformations are not just growing but expanding exponentially. The outcome of this is that the development team, for most companies, is working flat-out. They work to a plan, known as the roadmap, that can stretch a year or more into the future.

The roadmap exists to allow software developers to plan their strategies and monitor progress across the team. System integrations, upgrades, and tweaks to the CRM can all be areas that the dev team will look after and be working on.

This can be frustrating for managers in one area, who may need a stopgap solution to help their section

When the dev team has so much work booked that their roadmap stretches over 12 months, it becomes problematic for new ideas to be implemented in a timely manner. Instead, they get added to the end of the roadmap. This can be frustrating for managers in one area, who may need a stopgap solution to help their section, while other managers refuse to allow any deviation from the agreed plan of action.

To provide additional capacity or capability for these ideas, additional developers need to be hired. The problem is, there just aren’t enough developers to go around, and as a result, most developers now have very high salary expectations. Worse still, companies are finding that larger organisations, like Amazon, are pulling in the available pool of developers, worsening the shortage for other companies.

Any business with an inability to recruit or retain enough developers will quickly fall behind competitors that have found ways around this problem. What might be a ground-breaking money-making solution right now might be commonplace across the industry by the time the roadmap allows time for it.

So what can be done?

If you have a pool of semi-skilled IT individuals, there are low-code or no-code solutions that can be put in place to do some of the work linking systems, pulling data, or automating processes. These can be limited in some ways, but if they fit your model they may be game-changing in the here and now where you have some easy wins.

For your existing developers and future recruits, what benefits are you offering them? As hard as it can be to let them out of your sight, if you are not offering remote working, you will lose them to other employers who do. Allowing a remote working option is a low-cost option, but any additional benefit you can offer your developers will help and ensure that the salary offered to them remains competitive.

In the short term, you can hire developer contractors, but of course, they are an unknown entity with a range of personalities and skills that may or may not work well within your business, and you still need to go through the HR onboarding process with each.

As an alternative to individual subcontractors, seek a company that can offer Developers-as-a-Service. This allows you to work with just one company, which is in charge of its own recruitment, onboarding, and HR issues while providing you with a reliable way to access additional developers. This allows you to pass urgent new jobs to the outside company while your team of in-house devs continues working on the agreed roadmap, giving your business greater agility and keeping your company relevant within your industry.

Posted by:
Steve Tomkinson
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