How to de-risk your technical development

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How to de-risk your technical development

At Digital Detox, we’re not a fan of risk when it comes to developing digital experiences for our clients. For a start, we think risk is avoidable if you’re skilled at technical development in an agile environment. So for us, it’s not just possible to de-risk your technical development for clients, it’s mandatory.

Here are a few ways to de-risk your technical development, whilst building products your clients will love!

De-risk rule 1 – Be Agile

That’s right, be agile, don’t do agile. We have many clients asking us what agile methodologies we employ and the truth is, we don’t. Agile thinking is so embedded in our culture and ways of working, it’s become an unconscious part of our digital DNA.

Being agile can de-risk your technical development because its principles are based on creating small, incremental pieces of functionality, testing and releasing them within a short cycle of time.

This means that if the testing phase reveals any glitches or potential risks, we can make changes at a micro level without impacting a larger scale development framework. It also means we can get functionality in front of users as soon as possible. This helps us test theories, assess user behaviour and gain feedback before we’ve gone too far into the development process.

Being agile is the most effective way to de-risk your technical development. Agility should infiltrate into every practice, process and mindset within your business. It’s not a box ticking exercise.

Find out how to manage an agile team in a remote environment in this blog post.

De-risk rule 2 – Prioritise prototyping

Prototypes are glorious. They’re reasonably quick to create but their value cannot be overstated. We try to build simple prototypes for every technical development project so we can get some working functionality in front of the client or end user as soon as possible.

Prototyping is a powerful way to de-risk technical development because it gets all the assumptions out the way before any real development has begun. A prototype can be shared with stakeholders, shown to users and presented to board level execs.

It’s a flexible tool that can help you assess the value of a product before it’s even been built. And what better way to de-risk your technical development than by knowing its true value before you spend any money on it?

De-risk rule 3 – Strengthen what you have before you add anything new

If you want to de-risk your technical development, it’s vital to focus on getting the basics right and strengthening your existing architecture before adding new functionality. In this way, you’ll future-proof and secure your online systems, while minimising the risk of any issues or breakdowns appearing as new technology is introduced.

It can be tempting to ignore your BAU backlog in favour of adding exciting new bits of functionality. But at some point, if you don’t care for the existing architecture you have, all these new bells and whistles will cause it to crumble.

Bugs, security concerns, sluggish load speeds and incompatibility issues are all challenges you may face if you continue adding new technology without looking after what you have.

De-risk rule 4 – Reuse it or lose it

Sustainable design refers to an ongoing intention to minimise environmental impact as a result of your digital outputs. Because there is no standardised benchmark for digital sustainability, the onus still falls on each business to keep learning, reviewing and changing to be as ethical and sustainable as possible in their approaches.

For us, a key ingredient of our development approach is to build as much reusable technology as possible. This is hugely important as a means to help achieve our sustainability goals (we will become carbon neutral, within the next five years). But it’s also a great way to de-risk technical development for clients. Reusing working functionality presents a far lower risk than introducing new, unproven bits of technology.

De-risk rule 5 – Get clued up on code

Whether your technical development is managed by an in-house team or you outsource to a digital agency, knowledge is power.

If you’re a business leader with little knowledge of technology, it’s time to get clued up. Work closely with your CTO or Tech leader to understand how your technical roadmap fits within the wider business strategy. Ask questions, go on training courses and do all you can to understand agile development, technology buzzwords and technical delivery.

The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to understand potential risk factors and how to de-risk your technical development within the business.

Find out more

Got a business challenge? We are here to help. We work with enterprise organisations and startups to deliver digital transformation agendas and innovative green-field projects, including:

  • Rich, interactive websites
  • Highly performant & scalable apps
  • Enterprise applications
  • Code component libraries
  • Development communities

Get in touch to learn more and find out how we can help you achieve your digital goals.