Can it be better?
Maybe you recently have made some great improvements in your software development organization and now it might be easier to reach the expected milestones and get value out to customers/ users in a faster way. You might even have introduced some Agile or Lean practices (maybe elements from Scrum and/or XP) and started to work in a more iterative rhythm with increased collaboration and feedback.
Don’t relax and think it is good enough, because it can be so much better!
When your teams and individuals on a regular basis starts to search for new and improved ways of doing their daily work, you are moving in a direction, where more of the sleeping and hidden potential of the organization gets activated. When people get used to the rhythm of continuous improvements with regular retrospectives, instant kaizen events etc., they will start learning to see some of the candidates for removing wastes and be more efficient.
Continuous improvements with a structured and constant improved process to find the most important candidates to improve, is key to more business success in your organization and it is essential for you to do it better than your competitors.
It is not only about improving development practices in your development team, because you might just sub-optimize areas with lower impact and poor ROI. Off course you can get a lot of value by having an efficient development infrastructure and teams working with automated testing, emergent design etc., but the bottlenecks might be in the value streams involving people outside development. Working on the right prioritizes with enough knowledge of the business problem, so you can make a simple and optimal solution, often requires an efficient collaboration between business the development team and here might be candidates for larger improvements.
Unfortunately I know of many teams and organizations not doing any kind of regular improvement activities in teams, projects or on a department level. That’s a shame; because they could do it much better and be much more competitive with an improved bottom-line in the company.
So start doing continuous improvements as an individual, in your team or organization, and you will over time learn to see what is really blocking you not to do it better. Just keep in mind that it can take some time and there are a lot of different techniques to get into the root course of the problems, so you can focus on the constant and sustainable small steps with the largest impact.