Future-Proof Your Product Development Life Cycle

Content By Devops .com

In product development, change is vital. In fact, some might say that product development is the embodiment of change. Continuous improvement keeps products from becoming stagnant, which, in turn, keeps companies afloat.

While change is important, it’s not always helpful, especially when it involves the management of employee attrition and retention. Over the last year, many organizations have witnessed how an uncertain business environment can leave their workforce in chaos. Every year, thousands of experienced developers and engineers in the product development ecosystem leave their jobs, taking valuable tactics, insights and tools with them to their next role. Though these workers often pass on their expertise to those who take their place, without formal systems or standardized processes for gathering that information, much of the knowledge will be lost. The ultimate result is an increase in development costs and deployment delays.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” When it comes to an employee, that individual’s informal knowledge isn’t always easily captured by existing internal company processes. To retain and protect this knowledge, companies need technology that makes it easy to gather, store and access for future use.

Enter future-proofing, the process of using digital tools to capture knowledge and make accessibility seamless for future employees at various stages of product development. Employing future-proofing strategies will help IT company leaders and decision makers ensure a continuum throughout the product development life cycle.

Future-proofing is especially vital in this age of digital transformation, as it helps address common concerns that crop up about collaborative environments, team efficiencies and product integrations. Let’s take a look at what this entails.

Future-Proofing in the Age of Digital Transformation

The best-case scenario for adept future-proofing in the age of digital transformation is to have product development adapt alongside any systemic changes. Under these terms, software solutions that holistically capture both formal and informal knowledge are the secret to future-proofing the product development process. An effective digital solution will help you do this in three ways:

  • Comprehensively enables collaboration: A comprehensive solution will give users a single source of truth to track decisions, questions and problems. Unlike a shared Excel spreadsheet or Word document that can get overwritten, forgotten, corrupted or contains incomplete, fragmented information, future-proofing tools can effectively gather, store and then pass along knowledge.
  • Increases team efficiency: By working from a single source, teams can capture knowledge – often without even realizing it – through feedback and team communication. Additionally, a single source of information reduces design inconsistencies and discrepancies.
  • Seamlessly integrates digital tools: Because product development does not rely on a single digital system, solutions need to be integrated across different digital tools and throughout the product development life cycle. By integrating with tools that track development and with other information gathering and tracking solutions, knowledge is captured at multiple levels, streamlining future projects.

Overall, fostering an environment that encourages teamwork is the best way to ensure knowledge sharing and preservation. However, when that is not possible, companies need to have a backup plan. By merging talent with technology, you can capture both formal and informal knowledge before an employee walks away, and, therefore, future-proofing your product development life cycle.

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