Can you share any strategies on how to avoid unplanned development costs?
— Patricia T.
Alex: It’s a great question that many — if not all — organizations struggle with. My answer is to focus on “human cost” versus “hardware cost.” Human cost is typically driven by scope creep, deadlines, product quality, and retention.
That said, unplanned costs are pretty much unavoidable. However, here are some ideas that can help minimize those costs:
Allow for development “slack”
Many organizations set a goal of having their development teams spend as close to 100 percent of their time focused on new feature development as possible. In reality, this rarely happens. When planning work, I encourage folks to split their time between feature development and “non-feature development” activities, such as addressing technical debt and improving existing processes.
This split requires some discipline and maturity, from both organization and its individuals, since it might be perceived that developers are not “delivering value” unless they’re producing new features.