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30 September 2021

Development Downtime: How to Maximise This Hidden Opportunity!

business

No matter what industry you’re in, there’s no way to avoid downtime. However, there’s no need to worry; downtime can be used productively and grant you and your employees with some extra time to execute long-forgotten ideas or ameliorate already existing solutions. 

With a few clever tricks and a new strategy, your company can easily turn the downtime into its advantage and boost productivity to effectively organise the tasks you normally don’t have time for. 

How to Maximise Downtime 

Here are five tips on how not to waste any time during downtime. 

Deal with backlog 

Having a well-organised and fully detailed backlog is crucial for planning your future sprints. When your team has some extra time, the backlog can work wonders. If you have the scope ready for some of the tasks, you can mobilise your team to start working on the next project earlier. 

Attacking your backlog during downtime can save you time in the future, once everything goes back to normal, or simply postpone the downtime to a later point. Either way, you keep your team going and let them keep their pace of work. Moreover, the earlier you start working on the project, the faster you can address any possible issues and dispel any doubts and concerns. Also, the head start will enable your team to meet future deadlines more easily. 

Address technical debt 

There’s no better time to address technical debt than the period of slowdown. Sometimes, in the heat and rush of the season, there’s no way to do everything super right; sometimes fast is just enough. 

However, these shortcomings, as the name suggests, may work just in the short term and come back and bite you in the future. In many companies, technical debt is a somewhat neglected area, so whenever you face development downtime, it’s advisable to try to tackle any issues to clear out and set them straight. 

Explore new ideas 

Perhaps, you have been wondering about implementing new features or improvements to your products. Or maybe you came up with a promising and potentially profitable idea for a new solution, but you had no time to dig deeper into this subject... 

Well, with an abundance of time during downtime, you have an amazing opportunity to explore new areas and develop diverse opportunities. However, always remember to keep focus on profitability of your potential projects. You can conduct your research work, but the end goal should be to figure out whether a new product or feature is worth spending further time on. 

Revise strategies

High-intensity seasons usually highlight any operational bottlenecks and inefficiencies that you may not otherwise notice. Downtime can serve as an opportunity to revise ineffective or outdated strategies and implement improvements.  

Thanks to the downtime, you can prepare your company for the next high-volume season and will give you opportunities to manage it more effectively with less margin for unexpected and unnecessary expenses. You can also improve your internal processes to improve efficiency and productivity when work picks up again. 

Promote relaxation 

One thing that is often overlooked, especially in a start-up, is the need for rest and relaxation. Of course, there are some organisations that introduce special wellness and wellbeing strategies to strike the right work-life balance but unfortunately, in the excess of responsibilities, it can be pushed into the background. On top of that, to add insult to injury, some projects create an atmosphere of pressure and hard work.  

Downtime may create a great opportunity to recharge batteries and prepare for the next high-intensity period. Usually, a well-rested team works with improved efficiency and ambition, enthusiastically engaging in new projects, which compensates for the resting period.  

No Time Is Wasted 

As you can see, there are many different ways to use downtime to your company’s advantage and maximise this opportunity in your favour.  

Whether you choose to address the technical debt, explore new ideas, or simply rest and recharge batteries, always remember, that you haven’t wasted any time and the period of downtime can help you prepare your company for the next intense season. 

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Author
Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Technology Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.