Frequently Asked Questions about IT Efficiency Consulting
MAY 22, 2019 BY VALERIE GROCE
How is ITEC different from a software testing company?
The biggest answer is that ITEC is not a software testing company at all. While some of the work ITEC performs has to do with software testing, it is not the core of our existence. IT Efficiency Consulting (ITEC) has expertise in efficiency. This efficiency is by way of coding, testing, and team performance. Some of the value includes testing automation technology, but so much more is accomplished with increasing the team’s overall efficiency, morale and success. Teams learn that they don’t need more resources – but they need the right resources utilized in the most effective ways.
What value does ITEC bring to a development team?
ITEC’s value is increased efficiency for development teams. One key efficiency comes in the way of identifying defects at the earliest possible moment, when they cost the least to fix. This is often as soon as the code is written. ITEC introduces tools to test the code as it is written and provides immediate feedback to the developers. Identified defects are reduced then and there, never to interact with an actual software tester or subject matter expert.
In addition to the reduction of defects in a development project, ITEC also assesses those defects that were not able to be corrected right away. These defects are analyzed for ongoing impacts downstream to gain a big picture of the technical debt to be endured should they remain. With this knowledge, decisions can be made on prioritization and scheduling of resources to address those outstanding defects.
The team is introduced to different ways of collaborating and interacting in a way that makes them able to develop more successful code in the same period of time. ITEC provides training and mentorship to get the team accustomed to and comfortable with these new techniques and processes. An interesting phenomenon is that most teams working with ITEC also experience a boost in morale as they increase their level of interaction between each other and other project team members as they are more directly involved.
The next value is that the tools, knowledge and techniques introduced by ITEC are repeatable and reproducible in future projects. Some companies embrace ITEC’s methods so well that they only needed to bring us in once. The change in the team culture took care of the rest.
How does ITEC demonstrate value?
ITEC carries a strong philosophy that results are only proven when they can first be measured. Prior to deciding on any statement of work, an analysis is conducted on the current state of the team, focused on efficiencies and level of effectiveness. With that analysis will come some defined measures, starting with the current state of those measurements. The consultant will propose a plan to improve those measures along with the cost of their intervention efforts. Once the initiative is complete, a new measurement will be taken to compare with the baseline measures to demonstrate their heightened level of effectiveness. The team will also be left with the knowledge to measure their level of effectiveness going forward to continue operating at the same level of efficiency.
How is ITEC’s billing different?
Once the initial analysis is complete and measures are understood, the ITEC consultant will propose a statement of work (SOW) that illustrates every action necessary to achieve the customer’s goals. With that SOW will be a projected cost. This cost is not an estimate, but an actual cost of the service, independent of how many hours are required to accomplish those goals. ITEC’s pricing is by the service provided instead of the hours of work. We have already gauged the hours of work required and will work until the job is completed without any additional cost to the customer. The customer can then be at ease working with the ITEC consultant that the static cost will not rise for any work included within that scope.
How much technical debt is acceptable?
That answer really depends on the customer’s threshold of acceptance. The customer is able to make that judgement only when they have complete knowledge of the overall technical debt that is subject to be accepted. The ITEC consultant will provide their customer with the projected cost of remaining defects as the project is close to implementation.
This projection not only includes the cost for a developer to correct each bug, but will also take into account those affected by the bug. Examples of these impacts may be functionality, loss of anticipated use, and even monetary losses by way of lost productivity and efficiencies (soft dollars) or lost business or sales (hard dollars). It’s measurements like these that aid the customer in prioritizing and directing their resources going forward. Eyes wide-open is the best approach to making touch decisions about technical debt.
How long is ITEC needed on a team?
This is another answer that varies by client needs. In any client encounter, ITEC stays until the job is done, and how long that job is depends on that SOW and how much is to be changed. A company that often uses contract developers for each project may need ITEC occasionally to get the present team into the best practices.
A team that stays on beyond the project, or at the very least a robust leadership to carry the torch, may not need ITEC at all once they embrace the tools and techniques they learned. Most of what ITEC introduces a team is repeatable and reproducible in future projects going forward.
So who exactly needs a team of experts like ITEC? Probably any team that hasn’t encountered such an expert. How about your team? Contact us to learn more or for more information on technical debt, check out our articles: What is Technical Debt? and The Importance of Working with a Specialist to Manage Technical Debt.