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Top tips to deliver better software faster

open this image in new window: Top tips to deliver better software faster

This article was published on 29 April 2019

Craig Shipman shares the software development lessons we've learned after taking over 100 digital companies through our ‘Build for Speed’ innovation programme.


Every day, New Zealand software companies are delivering code to power applications that are used here and around the world.

Callaghan Innovation’s Build for Speed programme is designed to help your business grow faster and avoid common pitfalls that come with software development and delivery.

Over 100 New Zealand digital companies have now opened themselves up for accelerated success through Build for Speed. We have learned a lot together.

Here are our top tips for building better software faster:

  1. Use small development teams. This allows you to iterate faster, communicate more effectively and avoid getting bogged down with decision-making overhead.
  2. Obsess about your customer. Fall in love with their problems – not your solution. Really understand their pain points. If you aren’t solving their problems – someone else will.
  3. Recruit and reward exceptional developers. Great software is developed by inspired, skilled and efficient teams, who have an equal mix of enthusiasm, experience and skills.
  4. Experiment with software development processes to find the ones that are fit for your culture, style, people and goals. Build a culture where experimentation is normal and people are excited to try new things.
  5. Make quality deliberate. Early attention to quality and test automation will help you build sustainable product and productive happy teams. Bake quality in up front rather than try to test it in afterwards.
  6. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Focus on your core IP, develop and own the ‘secret sauce’ of your solution/platform and use others’ good work to do the transactional tasks. 
  7. Use a high cadence of build, measure, learn. Build things, measure their acceptance then use or adapt as needed. Building in fast, small increments allows you to learn quickly and steer towards the optimal outcome fuelled by constant feedback.
  8. Foster strong product management. Having a solid, effective product management function in your business will focus you on building the right product and is a key pre-requisite to success.
  9. Create a place and culture where people want to work. Foster an open and safe environment where people feel free to challenge and learn.  Seek external assistance to help your business grow and challenge your people.

There are no shortcuts to developing high-quality software. But our Build for Speed programme can help you to get the most out of your software development and build better software products faster.

The programme involves some of New Zealand’s best technical and digital product delivery experts. An initial one-day immersion with your team will look closely at eight areas of your business:

  • Team
  • Development and flow
  • Requirements and planning
  • Technical practices
  • Quality
  • Architecture
  • Continuous delivery
  • Culture and learning

This collaborative discovery covers everything from how your team behaves through to technical architecture and even how you manage your code.

Want to boost your team’s enjoyment and engagement at work, improve their ability to deliver and help your business succeed overall? If this sounds like a no-brainer, find out more about the Build for Speed programme and how it could work for you.

Craig Shipman, Digital Business Innovation Advisor