Evaluating Productivity on Your Team

June 26th, 2015

Do you know how productively your team is working? Counting lines of code was an early attempt at measuring programmer’s productivity, but if you use that metric, it’s easy to game the system: null statements boost output with no effort and no benefit. It doesn’t help that elegant, efficient code is harder to write – but more compact.

Lines of Code or Function Points

In any case, lines of code is the wrong metric, because evaluating productivity requires measuring the desired output, and companies aren’t trying to generate lines of code, they’re trying to generate applications that perform specific functions. So perhaps function points are the right metric?  The first problem is that counting function points is highly variable.

The second problem is similar to that of counting lines of code — the quality of the implementation matters as much as the quantity does. A developer who writes easily understood, maintainable, reusable code may have contributed more to the project than a developer who completed more function points but whose code can’t be reused and is difficult to maintain. Since this quality can’t be measured in real-time — you won’t know how hard the code is to maintain until it’s live in production — this means measuring productivity can’t truly be known until time has elapsed.

And neither lines of code nor function points give any way to assess the contributions of the non-coding members of the team. The result is that team productivity shouldn’t be assessed by applying quantitative metrics on an individual level, identifying the “slowest” programmers, and cracking the whip to get them to crank out code more quickly.

Remove Non-Productive Tasks

Instead of trying to collapse a team’s productivity down to a single number, focus on improving team productivity by eliminating the non-productive tasks that can take up the bigger part of a day.

Ask developers what gets in the way of getting the job done — do they have the tools they need and an efficient workflow that drives a development process through its lifecycle? Do they have the training they need? Are they spending time writing useless status reports? Are they working from clear requirements? Improve productivity by fixing the problems that reduce the team’s ability to deliver.

Build the Right Team

The most productive teams are filled with employees who are excited about their work and enjoy working together. InReach IT Solutions can help you find your next employee. Contact us today to learn about our hiring solutions.

Finding Top IT Talent

June 19th, 2015

There’s constant turnover in the tech industry, so companies are consistently in the position of needing to hire tech talent. Finding the right person means searching wide, searching deep, and searching for people who aren’t looking for a new job but would be ideal for your position.

Before starting your search, be sure you know what you’re looking for. Knowing the specific technical skills the job requires will make targeting your search easier. It’s also important to be clear whether the position is for a junior developer or an experienced professional. You’re likely to find them in different places.

In either case, after identifying a likely candidate, be sure to do an in-depth screening process that includes tests of specific skills as well as interviews. Anyone can put a string of acronyms on a resume – and some can even bluff about their level of experience during an interview – but having to answer detailed questions with compile-able code demonstrates true mastery of the skill.

Go Wide

You’ll find a broader pool of candidates if you utilize the entire range of social media, as well as real-life means of publicizing your opportunity. Use your company’s platform on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to list job openings, and also to sell your company as a great place to work. Be sure your social media sites appeal to tech folks, not just the customers for your product or service.

Your tech employees are likely to have friends in tech at other companies, and they are another means of publicizing opportunities in your business.

You should also go wide geographically; the ideal employee may not live in your neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work for you. Technology today makes working remotely completely practical, and it’s something you should consider for the ideal hire.

Go Deep

Look for specific skills in the online communities where people with those skills hang out. Tech bloggers and active contributors to tech forums demonstrate their knowledge even before an interview. Active contributors to open stack projects demonstrate their passion and interest in the subject.

You’ll also find real-life communities filled with tech experts in meetups or attending conferences and trade shows. Hackathons draw individuals with a passion for development.

Get Help

Working with a staffing firm like InReach IT Solutions means you don’t have to figure out your recruiting process by yourself. Contact us to find out how our experience can help you find your next employee.

The Employment Outlook | Dallas-Fort Worth

June 12th, 2015

Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, so employment statistics have a large impact. Statistics from the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, from January 2015, reported a large gain in overall employment in the region compared to the previous year; the 4.4 percent increase in non-farm employment was significantly above the 2.3 percent improvement experienced across the country.

Job Growth

Dallas-Fort Worth’s rate of job growth was the best in the nation; the region was third in the number of jobs added.  The increased hiring trend continued in March 2015, when Dallas-Fort Worth was again third in the number of jobs added. The unemployment rate in Texas overall is down to 4.2 percent from 5.3 percent a year ago, although there was a net loss of jobs during the month from February to March.

Industry Growth

Nationally, increased hiring has resulted in a slight upward trend in compensation, with a 0.3 percent increase in the average hourly rate over the last month. Over the past year ending in March 2015, total compensation in Dallas-Fort Worth increased by 2.3 percent, somewhat less than the national increase of 2.8 percent during the same period. This increase was the second highest increase in five southern regions tracked by BLS; the salary component of the gain, at 2.3 percent, was the largest in those five southern regions.

In technical fields, the Occupational Outlook Handbook continues to show growth across all computer and information technology-related careers, with employment in those fields expected to grow by as much as 37 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Impact on Hiring

The increased demand for technical employees means companies should expect to have to work harder to recruit qualified candidates. The continuing retirement of baby boomers is an additional factor that will increase the need for corporate recruiting and hiring efforts.

When unemployment is high, sifting through the large number of job candidates can be time consuming. When the job market is tight, finding interested candidates and wooing them successfully can be difficult. In either situation, working with an experienced staffing firm can streamline the process. InReach IT Solutions draws on our founders’ more than 20 years’ of experience in information technology recruiting to help firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area find the right employee to fill their openings. Contact us to learn how we can help solve your staffing needs.

Exit Interviews: Learning from Your Leaving Talent

June 5th, 2015

When you interview someone before hiring, you hope to learn about the candidate and find out whether they’ll be a good fit. When you conduct an exit interview with an employee who’s leaving, you hope to learn about the company and how employees feel about it. The best exit interviews yield actionable insight into ways you can improve your organization and reduce the odds of losing more employees.

Even if you conduct surveys of your employees and promise anonymity, existing employees may be unlikely to be candid. The employee at an exit interview has no concerns about the safety of their job, and may be more honest in sharing their opinion. While each exit interview gives a single person’s opinion, multiple exit interviews can identify patterns of concern and areas where the company can improve. Ideally, an exit interview will provide information that helps you recruit more effectively and retain staff longer.

Questions to Ask at an Exit Interview

An exit interview is an opportunity to learn employees’ opinions about the work environment, the corporate culture, the business process, their management, the opportunities the employee saw for career advancement, and the employee benefits package.

  • Ask about the employee’s reasons for leaving. There may have been one big reason, or a lot of little annoyances. The employee may be leaving for personal reasons unrelated to their experience on the job, but you should still ask follow up questions to find out what they liked and didn’t like.
  • Ask about the employee’s experience with management. Don’t use the response to target a specific supervisor, but look for general feelings about whether management is giving employees everything they need to succeed at work. It’s also useful to find out what employees think about the senior management they don’t interact with regularly.
  • Find out what the employee liked during their time at your company and what the new company is offering that led the employee to jump ship. This information can help you improve your competitiveness in the job market.

How to Conduct an Exit Interview

It’s best to do exit interviews in person, not as a survey, where you’re likely to get superficial answers or no response at all. There should be a single interviewer, who isn’t the employee’s supervisor, or it’s likely to feel like an interrogation and the employee will clam up. Use open-ended questions and give the employee plenty of time to talk. You don’t want simple “yes or no” answers where they agree or disagree with your suggestions, but want more detailed responses where the employee expresses their own concerns in detail.

When an employee resigns, an exit interview can help you find out why they’re leaving and improve your business so their replacement remains with your firm. InReach IT Solutions is an experienced staffing agency that can help you find their replacement quickly. List your job or contact us to find out how we can help.