One of the most undervalued skills a developer needs is the skill of decision making.
It may come to you as a surprise, but it’s definitely one of the most important skills! Yes, coding and constantly updating as developers is essential and part of your lives as developers. However, you’ve got to understand why and how this skill plays such an important role.
The amazing decision making skill is measured in two ways; corrections of actions performed and speed. You’ve got to work on that no matter what. Understand the need for decision making in your work life and how it affects others if not done right. The day you do so, half the decision making battle is sorted!
Decisions | Decisions | Decisions
Here’s a fun fact – About 35,000 decisions are made by an average person each day. This includes personal and professional decisions. You’ve got to understand something; to make decisions correctly, you need to have a strategy in mind, an end goal too.
Imagine, you, a developer who is such a busy person has to deal with these 35K decisions each day plus deal with regular software issues. You really need to buckle up and figure out how you strategize, take little and huge decisions accordingly! If not, you can always sign up for training to develop decision-making skills!
Developing Software and Uncertainty
It may seem like something you don’t really deal with. As a matter of fact, you do! Developers today are facing massive issues solving little glitches, not at work level; beyond that. Check out some instances:
“How long will you take to complete the project?” – Manager
“How much time should we invest in building feature X?” – Stakeholder
“Maybe, we can use X to build the new application.” – You, the Developer
“Team is giving an estimated time to be taken as 10 days.” – Product Manager
“Let’s give it a shot? Try it out!” – You, the developer
Now, if you’re a good decision-maker, good for you. I mean, you can guide you and your team. If not, imagine the situation you’ll be facing. Be ready for dicey situations and develop your decision-making skills sooner than ever.
Professional decisions are not as convenient as personal ones. The moment you make a bad decision in today’s corporate sector, you’re out. Don’t let uncertainty numb your ability to make the right decision. Countless, intangible elements when it comes to software development are out there; riskier than perceived to be.
Following are some tips you need to keep in mind to become a good decision-maker:
Quality first, then the velocity
There’s been an obsession for a long time now when it comes to delivering software-based products ASAP. But, to what extent? What is the point of delivering a software/ software-based product if you cannot make your customer happy?
Your job as a software developer must be to not just develop the right product but ensure quality is maintained for extensive use.
Master organizational agility
Good decision making is not just restricted to management. It also goes to micro levels like your team. Decisions taken by you determine an organization’s agility in some way or the other. Be capable of delivering your results the right way, at the right time.
Bad decisions may initially help you or help you get away from trouble. But, not always!
The mental handicap
Years of research have shown that we can become victims of mental shortcuts viz cognitive biases. These cognitive biases are capable to rule over your decision-making skills. All you need to do is, truly work towards your goal of delivering software, help the business value grow and disciple the way other developers feel about making decisions in software development.
Quick decisions but, expensive too
Bad decisions tend to cost a lot more than expected. There are times when we try fixing bad decision outcomes and it takes up a lot of time. Give time to innovation with technology. That’s eventually going to add to your experience and skillset.
Do not repeat past mistakes
A culture of never repeating mistakes is always something we’ve been trying to implement. This time, take it seriously. You’re a developer; an amazing one. Do not repeat the mistake of delivering mediocre products to your client or delaying it too much.
Change is constant – Develop your skillset
It’s hard to change and if you are, it’s hard to keep at par with it. You need to change with change, only then will you see relevant results in no time. At the end of the day, as Thomas Edison said, “there’s no substitute for hard work!” keep working towards your goal and adapt to your current and future situations.
Don’t forget to make good decisions
There’s no specific formula to right decision making, or any right style to make decisions as well. Keep some principles in mind while making decisions like:
Have supporting data
Beware of cognitive biases
Be kind and assertive
Business decision-making checklist you need as a Developer
Business decision making can be hard and you need a blend of skills, including decision making, strategic thinking, problem-solving and other skills. You are strong because now you shall know how you can make decisions quickly.
Check out this tool designed for you to make decisions quickly and in a jiffy!
1. Keep consistency in mind
Rushing into tasks, especially development-related tasks is never a good idea. It’s one of the biggest mistakes made by the best developers. Think carefully, strategize and plan out what you’d like to do when and related details. Effect decision-making skills require you to brainstorm and revise your idea.
You’re the project head and it’s your job to do a SWOT analysis and find out what can be really done for the project; how to do so and so on.
2. List out your ideas
All thanks to brainstorming, you’ll probably have multiple ideas. If not, there are ways like surfing the internet, talking with practically anyone in lay man’s terms and so on. You need to figure out which one’s best, which idea fits into the business too. Make a list of the ideas generated. Then, prioritize your ideas based on criteria like relevance, budget and so on. This way, you’ll work into the most realistic and awesome idea ever!
3. Get advice from out there
There’s nothing wrong with keeping in touch with other software developers. But, remember to maintain confidentiality while conversing with them. You are developing software and at the end of the day, you’re answerable to all those people as to why you decided to tell others about your idea before it became official.
Advice from outside, however, can help your decision-making process. Professionals can help you determine whether your idea is workable and fun or not.
4. Ask questions
There’s nothing wrong with questioning yourself while discussing a potential product that you’ve got to develop. It actually creates areas for improvement. Top questions include:
Why will my product work?
Will my product excel from the rest?
Will my product be useful for my target audience?
Will I be able to generate revenue from the product?
Is there any need or way to improve my product?
Hard questions help analyze selected solutions. Ask yourself and help yourself take the perfect decision!
5. Test your idea(s)
This may require some bandwidth which may be out of reach for you. But, try out testing your ideas. This can be in the form of small samples or models. Calculate your potential outcome this fine way and try making predictions.
You need creativity here. Develop that in the process too!
6. Sometimes, a step back is for the best
Keep your problem aside and relax for a while. It’s always a good idea to think about your decision with a fresh mind. You can always read a nice novel or just play games or, get some sleep. Your abstract thinking will emerge because your brain will get some rest. Let your new positive energy gives you the solutions, thoughts and so on in a better way for best decision-making outcomes.
7. Take action
This is the final but the most important step towards making a good decision. Remember to take action against all the thinking you’ve been doing. You have thought out all the consequences, pros and cons and so on; this should not be an issue anymore. Make the final judgment call and strategically make your decision!
Make sure you make the decisions at the right point of time. It can work for practically anything. Bad decisions lead to difficult times! More importantly, don’t forget to learn from your past mistakes; make sure you guide your team and ensure nothing goes wrong down that road.
If you want to be a leader or already are, remember your decisions affect the people around you. Do not mess things up for yourself or others. Think safe, think for others and never forget to help your product excel!