Crafting software is a team sport. From the engineers coding away to the tools making their job easier, many elements must come together. While there’s no quick fix to achieve project success, there are three critical aspects that engineering leaders can take into account while creating and implementing project plans.
People-Process-Technology (PPT) framework is an essential guiding approach that helps enhance efficiency and drive projects to success. This article will delve into what the People Process Technology Framework is, how it fits into software development, and some best practices for successfully implementing the framework.
What is the PPT Framework in Software Engineering?
The People-Process-Technology framework in software engineering is a strategic model based on the interplay of three core elements in software development and delivery. It puts weight on the importance of people, referring to their tech skills, collaboration, and leadership within the development team; processes, including the methodologies, workflows, and quality assurance practices; and technology, comprising the tools, platforms, and infrastructure used for software development.
How do Engineering Managers Utilize the PPT Framework?
Utilizing the PPT framework in a software development lifecycle involves making informed decisions about your dev team, streamlining workflows, and projects, and choosing a tech stack based on the scope of your software project.
Here’s how an engineering manager typically uses this approach.
- Using the PPT approach, they identify the most adept engineers to add to their team. Before onboarding any team members, they consider the project's requirements and individuals' strengths and weaknesses.
- They invest in skill development and training programs to keep their team members current with emerging advancements and industry standards.
- They set clear targets and monitor performance to see how their project is coming up.
- They oversee the entire workflow– everything from designing and implementing to refining their code. They also ensure that the workflows are responsive to the project’s requirements.
- They prioritize software quality and assurance by engaging in frequent code reviews and peer assessments and tracking relevant performance metrics like DORA and SPACE.
- Besides their core processes, they try adapting methodologies like Agile, Scrum, etc., as these approaches help establish and stick to better goals and timelines.
- They are wise with tool selection. They choose the tech stack that fits the organization’s platforms and suits their team members. Besides, they also encourage the adoption of innovative technologies and practices to stay competitive.
- As an engineering leader, they are also responsible for overseeing the infrastructural setup of their software development project. This ensures that it aligns with the team’s competence and maximizes productivity.
Now that you know how a PPT framework is utilized in a software development life cycle, let’s see how its elements fit in the approach.
Where do The People Fit
As they say, it’s not just about having people; it’s about having the right people with the necessary skills and expertise.
By people, we refer to every individual in the workforce— developers, engineers, managers, and even CXOs. They are the ones who make things happen, from software development to other engineering processes; they are intuitively a crucial component of the golden triangle of the PPT framework.
This is why engineering managers spend significant time finding and onboarding the most deserving and adept individuals. Per a report by the reputed recruitment firm Robert Half, over 79% of engineering managers seek professional help in building their data teams and bridging the skill gaps.
Why? Only when they have a competent team can they get the stakeholders to buy in and plan ahead.
Know When to Hire
Not all projects require you to hire new professionals. For some projects, you may also consider outsourcing the segment of work, reassigning some tasks, or freeing some resources by reallocating work. The final decision depends on how productively your engineers work, their availability at the time, project deadlines, and client expectations.
To know when to hire and when to reallocate resources internally, engineering executives need to be on their toes and know everything about their teams. They must stay on top of everything, from project status to employee productivity and what they’re working on. With DevDynamics’ automated reports and activity logs, consider it all done with a few clicks.
Where do The Processes Fit
A “process” is a structured lines of code, workflows, and activities that engineers leverage to achieve specific results during software development. This component of the people process technology framework focuses on “How” things are done.
Here are a few “Hows” that this component throws light on:
- How can we best use our people?
- How will a particular code solve the business problem?
- How will we audit and maximize developers’ productivity?
As processes are repetitive (in theory), a few factors, like when you perform them, become redundant. Because each time, you’ll get the same expected outcome. Processes are only as vital as their efficiency, and that depends on the people performing them. To reap the most out of them, you need to train and instruct your professionals.
Only with efficient processes can you scale data teams and seek better results.
Answering the “How”
As an engineering manager, you will spend quite some time figuring out this part of the Process component. Start by listing each process and defining their workflows to get a rough project outline. If necessary, keep revisiting this outline and add additional information, like descriptions and loopholes.
But how do you get this additional information about the processes? By constantly overseeing them and measuring the right metrics.
Metrics to Measure
It is imperative that you choose the right metrics instead of diving headfirst and measuring everything you come across. We recommend getting insights into your team’s velocity, quality, and productivity using DORA and SPACE metrics, two of the best quantifiable KPIs.
While DORA covers productivity by measuring Deployment Frequency, Mean Lead Time for Changes, Mean Time to Recover, and Change Failure Rate, SPACE metrics offer a more holistic view. It covers Satisfaction and Well-Being, Performance, Activity, Communication, Efficiency, and Flow.
With DevDynamics’ engineering metrics, you can efficiently observe such KPIs and get insights into your team’s performance without micromanaging them.
Based on your findings, you can also offer detailed feedback. This people process technology framework for engineering leaders works wonders if you constantly assess and improve. Only continuous improvement can uplift your engineering efficiency and add value to your business.
Where does The Technology Fit
The third component of the PPT framework— Technology, caters to the tools and solutions that your ‘people’ utilize to implement the ‘processes.’ Further, it also makes your work easier by automating specific processes. But that does not make technology an alternative to having people.
More often than not, organizations spend a lot of money to adopt new technologies. They skip that technology is only an enabler and is constantly in flux. Additionally, technology will serve no purpose if it doesn’t fit well with your organization and people.
So, choose a tech stack that aligns with your requirements and your team’s skills. What we imply is that your people must know how to work their way around, even if the technology changes. Pay attention to how your team adapts to the new tech stack, evaluate KPIs for all technologies you use, and keep track of bottlenecks.
This ensures that your engineering team will stay relevant even in this ever-changing environment.
Having said that, we do not discourage technological investments. But when choosing to invest in new technologies, consider your basic requirements and your workforce’s competency and feedback. This ensures that tech adoption will not turn out to be counterproductive in the future.
Balancing the Three
The key to understanding how the PPT framework works lies in a single word— Balance. If you know what each component does and how it interacts with the others, you can strike a balance between the three.
Imagine a tripod, with each leg representing a component. Clearly, if one of the legs falls short compared to the others, the table will be out of balance.
Now, take the tripod’s legs to be People, Process, and Technology. Suppose there has been significant technological advancement, and engineering methods have changed accordingly. In that case, you must alter how your people work and design new processes to accommodate the latest technology. This is because the new technology will bring operational efficiency only if the people handling it and the methods utilizing it are equipped to do so.
Organizations must seek better visibility into their engineering teams and train leaders to make better data-driven decisions to achieve this balance. They must identify blindspots and areas of improvement to focus on the right things.
How Does the People Process Technology Framework Add Value to Software Engineering?
The People Process Technology framework adds momentous values to software engineering. When engineering leaders balance the three elements, they can easily monitor their dev team’s performance and software development stage.
- Technical Skill Enhancement: By prioritizing the people aspect, this approach ensures that your engineering teams possess the necessary skills to excel in their designated roles. It bolsters talent acquisition and fosters a culture of continuous growth and development.
- Increased Production Efficiency: The PPT framework allows you to implement well-designed software projects using agile techniques, better workflows, and more productive team members.
- Assured Software Quality: As the people process technology framework puts weight on continuous assessment and upgradation, it ensures that the software development cycle meets quality standards.
- Aligned Technology Stack: The PPT framework encourages tech alignment with your organization’s requirements. It results in better and more efficient utilization of your selected tech stack.
- Alignment with Business Goals: Balancing the three core elements– people, process, and technology; ensures that your engineering efforts align with the organization’s long-term goals and objectives.
Best Practices for Engineering Leaders to Utilize the People Process Technology Framework
Working individually on each component might not be as good of an idea. This is because results depend on how these three parts work together. Therefore, the best people process technology practices focus on harmonizing them. Simply put, your people must be versed in the processes and technologies.
Some of the best practices to utilize the PPT framework, particularly in software engineering, are listed below.
- Prioritize Your People: Employees or people are the most important asset in any company. Obviously, because they will be doing all the work. This is why you must focus and invest in improving your workforce. Work on training your employees, emphasize skill enhancement, and be a good thought leader to maintain the momentum. Lastly, keep open lines of communication and provide constructive feedback.
- Hone the Process: Hone your processes by implementing agile methodologies to achieve better results. You can hold regular sprints, review performance, and discuss the findings in regular meetings. Stay on top of the workflows and evaluate continuously. This will help you identify bottlenecks and areas where you need to improve. Continuity in the above practices will ensure quality assurance in the processes and catch defects (if any) early in the development cycle.
- Choose Technology wisely: Stay current with the latest tech trends to ensure that you make conscious decisions while selecting your tech stack. Try avoiding unnecessarily complex technologies. Prefer straightforward and scalable solutions that your people can work better with. Last definitely but not least, befriend potent engineering analytics solutions like DevDynamics to stay ahead of the curve.
Balancing the three components of the People Process Technology framework is crucial to enhancing the engineering efficiency of software development teams. This is because the software development domain is constantly in flux, making it necessary for people and processes to adjust accordingly.
While there is no rule of thumb to strike this balance, certain practices can help you hit the mark. One of these practices includes getting adept at analytics. DevDynamics is an engineering analytics platform that can help you have better visibility into your team’s work so you can identify gaps and work on areas of improvement. With our investment distribution module, you can also see how your engineering time is allocated to different projects.
Schedule a demo today to see how DevDynamics can optimize your engineering efforts.