Lessons from Moving Business Forward During a Pandemic
5 Key Lessons for Businesses Managing Software Development Projects During Times of Crisis
It has been over two years since the pandemic blindsided the world. COVID-19 left no business or industry untouched, including software development. While all sectors have faced an unprecedented period, if there is anything we have learned, it’s that it is essential to remain resilient and evolve from the innovations embraced during this time.
Like most fields of work, IT professionals were required to quickly pivot and learn how to do their jobs successfully in these new circumstances. How we work, communicate, collaborate, and grow have all been redefined. The software development industry was well poised to manage distributed teams, try new approaches, test new methodologies, and learn how to move forward more innovatively and consciously. Many of these things were already standard in the industry.
Here are five lessons for the software development industry that we’ve learned through the pandemic.
1. Remote working offers benefits for both employers and workers alike
Since the pandemic, the IT industry has seen a dramatic increase in onshore and offshore remote work, and the option for employees to continue working from home is in strong demand. Software developers proved that they could continue to be productive (if not more productive), meet deadlines, and build quality products, whether they work from home or in the office. Many organizations have embraced these hybrid work models, recognizing that software developers do not need to always be in the office or on-site to get the job done.
Even though our overall approach to managing Covid has evolved and businesses have reopened, more and more employees seek a work-life balance and prefer not to return to the office. Likewise, organizations benefit from downsizing office spaces and resource expenses by allowing employees to continue working from home. Another huge benefit for employers, especially in the software industry, is that talented developers can be recruited from around the globe without the desire or need to relocate.
2. The Hiring Process Is Redefined
Interestingly enough, software developers and IT professionals saw an uptick in employment prospects and roles throughout the pandemic and beyond. However, the traditional on-site, face-to-face interview that typically took place, even in the tech industry, has been replaced. When the pandemic hit and in-person interviews were no longer an option, hiring managers sought remote hiring alternatives.
The collaborative nature of virtual interviews via online communication platforms empowers companies to reach more job seekers regardless of location. By forming an effective remote hiring process, firms can expand their talent pool and hire the best of the best. This form of interviewing is becoming the norm for many industries.
3. Crisis Management – Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Prior to the pandemic, crisis management wasn’t something most businesses had to deal with at scale. For many, it was conceptual and based on an untested plan, if they had a plan at all.
Crisis management aims to be prevention-based and prepared for any given sudden and significant adverse scenario. Crisis management must be a before strategy and not an after-the-fact response to accomplish this. This starts by anticipating the potential risk factors to a company or organization (i.e., external factors such as natural disasters, large economic fluctuations, technology disruptions, and internal factors such as business-related accidents, needing to change employee work conditions, the sudden death or disability of a key person, or workplace violence).
Planning for worst-case scenarios is crucial, and this pandemic taught us that there must always be a contingency plan in place. Organizations should have at least a general crisis management plan in place before the crisis happens, and the plan can be updated and expanded to address new threats as necessary.
4. Video is Important
Audio and text-only communication methods presented significant challenges for many people when working remotely. A large part of effective communication is delivered nonverbally – something that naturally happens when everyone is working together in an office. Communicating through computer screens reduced the ability to use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, body language, and facial expressions that are present during face-to-face interactions. The presence or absence of nonverbal cues in communication is a significant determiner of how successful interactions are.
The use of video became essential at all levels within companies and between companies and business partners. Video meetings brought back some of our ability to read the nonverbal cues of people we were working with. Video also contributes to our ability to connect with new remote staff and clients in a more meaningful way. So while it might be tempting to turn off the video, leaving it opens the door to better understanding, virtual connections, collaboration, and feelings of connectedness.
5. Openly Communicate Concerns and Listen to Staff
The pandemic has affected each country and even regions within them differently. For some, it was and may continue to be more prominent than in the location other team members are in. The QAT Global headquarters is located in the U.S, and we have development centers in Brazil and Costa Rica. Our team members are spread out across all three countries. Keeping up with the laws, regulations, and restrictions of each location to ensure the safety of employees was and is an essential and significant task. Openly communicating with staff regarding the pandemic and related key business issues in a timely manner was even more critical to help address concerns and reassure team members that they were secure in their positions.
Open communication was and is vital for us and anyone with remote staff. Having multiple, easy-to-access channels to open lines of communication is a priority for companies with remote staff. When team members are remote, distributed, and facing personal challenges relying on formal lines of communication isn’t always the best option. Being open and listening to staff concerns helps keep up engagement, motivation, and performance, especially during stressful times.
These are just five of the many lessons we’ve learned through the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some lessons your team or industry has gained? Feel free to share with us on social media or contact us! We’d love to hear your input.