The Future of Software Development Webinar: Q&A

October 20, 2021
QA webinar Q&A

On June 25th, Dion Hinchcliffe – VP, and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research -, and I held an engaging discussion about new research conducted by Constellation Research regarding distributed teams and digital innovation. Evidence shows that over 70% of digital transformation projects fail. Even with the transition to Agile development methodology, the traditional staffing model is often too rigid and inefficient for the needs of the innovation team.

Dion and I discussed the research and explored a modern approach to staffing — elastic staffing — that yields a more balanced team throughout the project lifecycle, more efficient utilization of resources, lower delivery risk, and greater happiness and satisfaction of its members. The research results are eye-opening. – 90%+ innovation project success – 30% more cost-efficient staffing – 60% lower risk – 3.6x higher satisfaction The audience proposed several thought-provoking questions which Dion and I have responded to below.

1. Hybrid / External teams?

Do you see any potential difference between applying this model to fully internal teams compared to hybrid / external teams? All distributed teams benefit from elastic staffing and real-time risk management. Fully-internal teams may struggle if they are resource-constrained and unable to find on-demand talent to respond to the need for additional capacity or expert skills for peer review.

2. Are the benefits of elastic staffing?

Are the benefits of elastic staffing more impactful in one industry versus another (i.e., tech vs manufacturing)?  Elastic staffing is valuable for projects where the level of effort and mix of skills change regularly, for example almost any customer experience application has these characteristics. Legacy software maintenance projects which have the steady-state capacity and skills requirements would get less value from elastic staffing.

3. Is it a “pure” DevOps model only or is Infrastructure as Code creeping into the overall Gigster approach as well?

A DevOps toolchain that enforces Infrastructure as Code and the related Policy as Code are core elements of the underlying best practices process we call “The Gigster Way.” They are not required in order to use the Gigster platform, but we believe that companies who want to maximize the productivity and quality of their teams should aspire to implement these DevOps best practices.

4. What are the project risks associated with using an elastic staffing model?

Elastic staffing assumes that there is a core team associated with the project to maintain continuity and context. With that in place, additional resources can be added and subtracted to provide burst capacity and expert oversight.

5. What do you think remote work looks like a year from now?

Dion Hinchcliffe closed the session with his perspective on remote work. He expects remote work to mature and address many of the weaknesses that have been recently been exposed like siloed work environments and lack of visibility into productivity. He expects individual contributors to operate within platforms that will provide better dashboards, better ways of addressing silos, and providing context for the work being done.

He emphasized that the Gigster team intelligence platform addresses many of these challenges for remote workers – especially the data-driven talent analytics component to measure and predict risk. A poll was also conducted during the webinar. Here is the polling question, and the summary of participant responses. 

To what extent are you using elastic staffing (just-in-time, as needed) to structure your innovation teams? You can access the webinar recording here. To learn more about the research and Gigster’s modern approach to digital innovation teams, you can get a complimentary copy of the new report here.

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