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Solving problems faster means you need to understand them quicker

5 min read

Written by: Wouter Knigge,

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We live in a world that is getting ever more complex. The sheer possibilities of what technology has to offer are mind-boggling. Every innovation brings a cascading effect of new opportunities that allow us to solve our problems more efficiently. Offering us new ways to improve our lives.

This rate of change has a profound effect on where we, as humans, fit into the process.

The disruptive rise of IT in the second half of the 20th century has been compared to the industrial revolution, and the parallels are uncanny. At the advent of the fourth revolution, there were immediate concerns regarding IT automation and how it would decimate the workforce. As time passed, society has come to terms with the (initial theoretical) concept that IT automation paved the way for a higher form of work.

In the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, there is an apt representation that shows this shift. At the start, Charlie’s dad screws toothpaste caps on by hand, by the end of the movie, a machine now performs this function, and Charlie’s dad is now a mechanic maintaining the continuous automation.

A common misconception with this example is that you still only need 1 mechanic to keep the machines running in comparison to the numerous laborers prior. However, labor tends to be reallocated to the building of these new machines and the inevitable supply chain.

And this is our problem today. We need more people, not fewer!

The increase of complexity in our world and the continuing innovation drive the need for highly skilled people. Although we already have a large pool of engineers, developers, etc., the available resource seems insufficient to meet the needs of the market. This problem is not just confined to the world of IT professionals either. When organizations can not find the right employees the consequences can be dire.

We can see the risks of a shortage of people around us today. Fewer trains are running due to a shortage of machinists and conductors. Restaurants are open fewer days because they are short of waiters and chefs. Sounds familiar, right?

The shortage of skilled professionals is already a reality for the IT industry!

Playing the Pool

The IT industry has been experiencing a shortage of developers and wider IT roles for some time now. Hiring the right product owners, architects, scrum leads, etc, is increasingly difficult. Without the correct mix of skills, development teams will slow down and come to a grinding halt.

So, how are companies dealing with the shortage?

  1. Strong-arming the competition – Some of the players in the market have the luxury of deep pockets. They can increase the rates they pay for skills and thus get the pick of the pool. Great news for experienced IT professionals but not necessarily for the industry, as no new talent is being added.
  2. Speed-schooling – Training-while-you-work options enable people to immediately utilize their newly developed skills in a commercial environment. Additionally, the low-code movement has helped add new people to the pool however, the outcome isn’t equitable to a developer who can code and understand frameworks.

When it comes to increasing the pool of IT professionals a single company can not be responsible for solving an industry-wide problem. Growing the size of the pool can only be solved by macro-economical measures and with timelines that forego the hiring tactics employed by large companies.

So what to do?

At SIG, we believe that the tech expertise shortage should be solved differently. Just adding people to the pool is not a good resolution or strategy. Instead, we need to leverage technology that scales the people we already have.

How to get more from what you already have

The two following strategies will effectively impact how much one can do with the people already onboard. 

Strategy 1 – Generate time by supporting your experts in achieving their key objectives is the shortest route to increasing capacity. Reducing the time it takes to solve a problem increases capacity. 

For knowledge workers to solve problems well, they need to have it quantified, qualified, and accurately mapped out. Our clients can boost productivity by utililzing our fact-based insights and our prioritization engine to make quick and impactful decisions. This frees up knowledge workers’ time to move on to the next problem sooner.

Strategy 2 – Generate knowledge by utilizing the experience and understanding of seasoned software developers. Enable junior employees to know where work needs to be done and what decisions, within the context of the business, will have the greatest benefit on the technical debt, ease of addition, etc.

Our clients can grow their knowledge base by utilizing our data-driven guidance based on decades of software development experience and scientific knowledge. Organizations can benchmark their software against the industry and identify shortfalls. This systematic approach effectively increases your capacity with limited resources.

Can any company solve the tech shortage out there? 

No, most certainly not. 

Is your company going to be impacted by this problem shortly? 

Yes, and you probably already have, but the gradual decrease in progress can easily be missed. To make sure you are ready, we suggest investing in the people you have on board. These are the people that know your business and can be supercharged to solve the most difficult of problems.


Wouter Knigge


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