How a Mobile Development Assessment Can Put You Right Back on Track

You have a hot mobile development project in the works.

But instead of results, you’re faced with a seemingly endless track of delays, obstacles, and hurdles. The goals you had for going mobile seem to be slipping further away as support for the project dwindles.

“What’s happening?” You start to wonder. “We planned it out so well. Where did it go wrong?”

If you ever find yourself in this situation, know that it’s far more common than you think. Companies with long track records of software success often discover that the transition to agile development is not as simple as it sounds. Old habits die hard, despite new intentions. And so many execs find themselves in this frustrating spot as they tackle their first mobile development projects.

Things just aren’t going as you planned. Agile isn’t working. You’re not meeting your commitments and the prospect of a positive future result is looking murkier by the day.

But don’t worry. You don’t need to grind it out with such lackluster performance – or worse yet, throw in the towel. You can find out how to get your mobile project back on track with a Mobile Development Assessment (MDA).

What is a Mobile Development Assessment?

A Mobile Development Assessment reviews each facet of your development operation. It provides an outside, objective look at your strengths and weaknesses. Some of the key areas an MDA looks at are:

  • Your development methodologies and processes
  • Your development team’s chemistry, structure, and skills
  • Your management framework and support
  • Your communication effectiveness

In each of these areas, an MDA should discover not only where the failures lie, but also what causes them. And, most importantly, how to fix them.

This kind of assessment is, of course, best performed by experienced professionals – professionals who already know your pain points when it comes to mobile development. Such real world application and knowledge is important when it comes to overcoming objections from highly trained folks who have “always done it that way.”

Assess Your Development Processes

One of the most important components of a Mobile Development Assessment is to evaluate how your chosen processes are actually being implemented. It’s one thing to decide your teams will use an agile framework such as Scrum, and quite another to follow all the guidance completely. An MDA looks closely at which aspects are being followed to the letter, what adaptations or compromises have been made, and why. The ultimate goal is to pinpoint where your processes are breaking down.

I covered some of the steps involved here in 7 Tips for Fixing a Broken Mobile Application Development Process. In addition to evaluating key roles such as ScrumMaster and Product Owner, that article also mentioned teamwork, management style, and training. And the final tip? Suggesting an MDA.

Assess Your Development Team

Analyzing your development team is a delicate business, but crucial to your MDA. Is the team too large or too small? Are the right skills and talents represented? Are they performing as a team or do personal conflicts divide them? Is everyone on the team involved and engaged in decision-making or do a vocal few take charge? How are outside resources being introduced and incorporated into the team when needed?

All of these questions have significant impacts on the productivity and success of your mobile development team. An MDA can get at the root of these issues and how they’re affecting your performance. You can see a glimpse of this kind of scrutiny at work in the blog post How to Turn Your App Development Team’s Morale Around.

Assess Your Management Framework

Finally, an MDA addresses not only what goes on within a team, but what happens outside it, too. Specifically, the dynamics of management and communication play integral roles in your team’s success.

For instance, is your development team truly self-managed or do outside influencers sway their day-to-day decisions? How is your management team supporting – rather than controlling – the development efforts? What involvement does the executive team have?

Inside the team, what sort of leadership is present? Is there too much of it or too little? How do these leaders interact with other teammates? Does everyone have an equal voice or does the team feel “managed” by one or more members?

Good communication is incredibly important, but can also provide another channel for disruption. If you don’t manage the communication process, development team members can get overwhelmed by competing management voices within your organization. Scrum takes care of this with its Product Backlog and by prioritizing user stories for every production sprint. Internally, Scrum calls for daily standup meetings and teamwork to solve daily problems, rather than relying on outside opinion and direction.

Getting Back on Track

The overall point of a Mobile Development Assessment is to provide you with two things:

  1. Knowledge of your development effort’s strengths and the opportunities where your processes are breaking down
  2. Recommendations to correct the issues and get your mobile development projects back on track

If you’re just getting started on a mobile project and you’re looking for some guidance, 8 Tips for Leading a Mobile Development Team to Success is a good place to start.

If you need more hands-on experience, or if you’re ready to discover how to get your team to the next level with a Mobile Development Assessment of your own, contact us at Ascendle today. Helping mobile development teams push through those initial struggles with an MDA is one of our favorite things to do.

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