OMG – We have Bench


Technology has evolved over the last 20 plus years and pace is ever increasing. Skills becoming obsolete in few years is nothing new. Having seen a shift from Desktop systems, to web applications, followed by mobile applications and today we have Internet of things, future is really interesting.

For a software services company this presents a challenge as on one hand costs are to be controlled and on the other hand right skilled people to be made available in a team.

Further a software services company may cater to projects on multiple technologies. As a result folks need to work on those technologies.

It can happen that

  • Project has been delivered and there is no new project in horizon.
  • Technology has become obsolete and rendering the developers idle.

So folks who become free from projects and have don’t have projects to work on in immediate future are said to be on Bench.

So is Bench bad for a company? It depends on the situation.  Some bench is healthy as it provides an opportunity to scale up in case of increased work.  However if there is excessive bench then it can eat up the revenues of the company.

From developer folks perspective being on Bench for a long time means quitting and looking for new jobs. It can also become a nightmare for managers to ask team members to look out for new jobs. Parting ways is an emotionally difficult situation both for developers and company.

For a company it is a loss, as every person is valuable and getting new person on board is always fraught with risk. Further for a project if entire team leaves then in case of future maintenance it becomes challenging. Taking this a step further if company has executed many projects on a technology and because of bench there is a massive churn, it may not have any one to support. This is as disastrous for a company as it can get.

I am sure many of you have come across such situations. I did not come across something specific till date in agile frameworks to manage Bench time or maybe I missed it.

I have been thinking of a solution that could be executed. If you have suggestions please do share by mail.


Posted in Software Agility Tagged with: , ,

Agility – Simple as it gets


I recently attended a conference on Agility. It was brilliantly organized with some of the top speakers being invited from around the globe.

I came across some interesting frameworks like Nexus and SAFE. Also understood more about LESS. Of course there were discussions around Scrum, Kanban and DAD. After going through multitude of frameworks, it led me to think are we on the right path? Development life suddenly started to look complex.

I still remember Dave Thomas’s Key note at Agile India conference in 2014. He explained agility in a very simple concise manner.

  1. Find out where you are?
  2. Take a small step where you want to go.
  3. Adjust your understanding based on what you learned.
  4. Repeat above till you reach your goal.

Also when you have multiple options about doing things, choose the option that makes doing changes easier in future. This is so simple.

Also met Dave personally and my interactions with him led me to believe that technical excellence of a person, coupled with above approach can deliver good results. This can be observed even at team level.

Above statements from Dave, to me, seem to be more like the ones we discuss in our daily stand ups. I am sure, many of us would have experienced that even daily short meetings like stand ups go a long way and bring projects on track and we go on deliver successful projects.

So if we combine above approach with the just the basic principle as mentioned in Agile manifesto, delivering successful projects would become lot easy.

Here you can read complete article of Dave Thomas

There is another problem that I have noticed at an organization level that needs to be tackled. Next time I will be explaining the problem, so stay tuned.


Posted in Software Agility