Deciding on the right technology that fits your business’ needs and people can be challenging, but in today’s world that alignment is a must.
Software adoption often has a measurable effect on the bottom line. Research shows, for example, that sales organizations are less likely to meet their quotas if they are using customer relationship management systems less than 75% of the time.
But choosing a tech stack for your company is about more than the technological capability; leaders must also weigh its role as a key dynamic in the workplace culture and be able to tailor it to their business’ goals, says Denise Brinkmeyer, author of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership and president of Jump Technology Services®.
“Your tech stack needs to support your culture, and ROI shouldn’t be pushed so far into the future as to risk the investment due to loss of organizational knowledge,” Brinkmeyer says. “When you look at the average tenure for analysts and developers, you should protect yourself with incremental deliveries that achieve ROI on a shorter timeline rather than longer.
“When you choose a stack, you’re putting your people in a new ecosystem, and It’s vital that the stack will feel comfortable to you and your people as well as meet the company’s needs.”
A tech stack is the combination of technologies a company uses to build and run an application or project. It typically consists of programming languages, frameworks, a database, front-end tools, back-end tools, and applications connected via application programming interfaces. Brinkmeyer says implementation is often an ongoing process, requiring a culture that stays engaged and connected.
“Due to changing business needs, company growth, and technology’s frequent upgrades, you’re never completely ahead of the curve,” she says. “But driving ownership at each step of implementation and the adoption journey propels steady progress and maximizes return on investment.”
Brinkmeyer offers these tips for aligning your tech stack with your business:
- Perform a technology assessment. When scrutinizing a tech stack in operation, Brinkmeyer says it should improve internal processes, align with business objectives and improve the customer experience. “An assessment will give you a clear view of what you may need to reevaluate, what’s working well, or how it can be used more effectively,” she says. “Depending on those findings, then the next step could be thoroughly researching other solutions that are more user-friendly and cost-effective.”
- Map the project and determine the best route to your destination. Much like mapping software that gives people different driving routes to their destination, Brinkmeyer says team and tech alignment depends on charting a project’s smoothest way from its starting point to its envisioned end point. “All involved must have conversations about the tech features they need to reach the destination,” she says, “and then you have to map and discuss the projects’ route, which must be as clearly delineated as possible. Assumptions and constraints must be addressed. And the more you know your team members and their levels of experience, the more accurate your map from the starting point to the destination, and the more on schedule you will be.”
- Clearly communicate and document expectations. Brinkmeyer says ownership and adoption of a tech stack can’t happen without clarifying expectations in advance with regard to roles and schedules each team member will have. “It’s crucial to have clear documentation that furthers learning and ensures users are making optimal use of the software,” Brinkmeyer says. “Internal training is essential, and it’s helpful to coordinate with the vendor’s support team so that questions are quickly addressed and bottlenecks are prevented.”
“Aligning new technology with your team requires strong, organized leadership and a culture that’s on board,” Brinkmeyer says. “The people components are your foundation, and ideally, your tech stack is an excellent complement, geared to bring out the best in your people and a company’s efficiency and production.”
Denise Brinkmeyer is the author of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership and president of Jump Technology Services®. She has over 20 years of diverse business experience with various-sized companies and develops business consulting service strategies. Brinkmeyer focuses on the development and implementation of software project management and software design methodologies that dramatically increase both customer satisfaction and department performance.