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8 min read

ASD: The Vanity Tool Eliminator

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It's time to get rid of vanity tools. Here's how accelerated software development enables the elimination of marginally beneficial tools.
Written by
Jonathan Mitchell
Published on
April 12, 2024

Tools tools everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Traditional software development has been overly reliant on engineers and other stakeholders being beholden to literally dozens of different applications. Create familiarity and understanding with one, just to add another. Organizations will use Confluence, Notion, Jira, Excel, and the list goes on and on. Yet, when a stakeholder asks for the software, nobody can actually say where to look. Fiddling around with a plethora of tools that have marginal benefits just leads to more inefficiency. But what if it was possible to eliminate the bloat and fine-tune your organization’s toolbox? There’s a need to trim the fat and figure out what actually is useful. At that point, the right amount of people and resources can be assigned.

No matter how many options there are, a fool with a tool is still a fool. So, let’s eliminate the unnecessary, focus on what’s actually useful, and enable users to build expertise and familiarity with those specific tools. That way, your team members can get the most out of what’s available to them without being overburdened. Investment is reduced or reallocated to more effective areas, and now you can move at the speed you want. Less bloat, less drag, more efficiency. Accelerated Software Development offers this possibility.

Why Get Rid Of Vanity Tools?

The end goal of software development is to create a functional, impactful product. That’s it. Tools enable processes to be augmented and improved, but the end requirement stays the same. Tools are simply a means to an end. And yet, organizations will still have up to 40 tools spread throughout various teams. How many of these are used daily? Your guess is as good as anyone. How many of these tools provide tangible impact? That number will likely be lower than the answer to the previous question.

An exorbitant amount of tools would actually hinder, not help, development. Organizations are always trying to get rid of blockers. That same mindset should be applied to frivolous tools. Technical debt and dealing with outdated programs just makes the process more painstaking. It’ll also serve as a headache for the people you’re depending on to solve problems. Make their jobs easier, save money, and increase the level of output.

The unfortunate reality is that it’s not hard to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to just continue buying new tools when being bombarded by sales pitches. But is the applicability of these tools discussed? Sure, they might talk a big game, but functionality and usefulness should be at the forefront. When this sort of fervor begins showing itself, take a moment. Think back again to the one goal we’ve already established. The need is to create a product. If the tool adds steps instead of taking them away, maybe take the time to investigate its usefulness.

Focus On Output

We’ll save some time and not list the total number of tools software developers can use. To do so would take far too long and far too many words. That doesn’t change the reality of the situation. There are countless tools for all specializations vying for attention. Cutting through all of the sales pitches and functionalities is challenging, but it is possible. Then, when the cream of the crop rises, that tool gets used.

Now, as we’ve established, it’s rather tempting to snag a new product you see in the market. Here’s the catch-22. If this new purchase doesn’t work out, you’re left with a useless application. What are you still missing? Well, the software. The deliverables the tool was supposed to assist with. Every tool has the promise of offering something never seen before. Fancy phrases and unrealistic expectations. Don’t fall for it. Each tool is only as good as the next sales pitch.

Team members understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and what tools they need to meet their objectives. There’s internal knowledge transfer, and all tacit knowledge is retained within your team members. This is all about the removal of layers. Doing so minimizes any sort of decision latency and lets developers do what they do best.

There’s another important aspect to keep in mind. Quantity over quality just leads to underutilized resources. ASD’s iterative approach means there are no loose ends or unused capabilities. Everyone works at their peak level of efficiency, and the high level of quality reflects the proper utilization of punchy tools.

Augment Your Software Developer Team

The purpose of tools is to make your team members more efficient. Dragging them through new program after new program only leads to more blockers and higher levels of inefficiency. Simplicity is only achieved when there’s nothing left to take away. That should be the end goal. Create an environment with accessible, functional tools, and your developers will do the rest.

There are always going to be new toys in the market. The pace of innovation within the tech space is rapid. That won’t change. But, there is a way to sift through the useless and choose tools that create impact and augment the capabilities of your software developers. AI, ML, new languages, modern architectures, these things are meant to assist, not inhibit. We’ve taken a unique approach to implementing tools and methodologies within ASD. That doesn’t mean other organizations can’t find their own perfect balance. Talk to your developers. They’ll tell you what they need. Just make sure you’re listening.

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