Three Ways to Achieve Sustainable Software Development

July 26, 2022

In a world where manufacturing operations are constantly scaling up, lifelong software support is more important than ever.

Employees collaborating on a project and brainstorming

Achieving sustainable software development for manufacturers is no easy task.

Balancing meeting client expectations with the realities of resourcing and cost can lead to situations that are tricky to navigate. But what is Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT)? It is a tried and tested method of managing large development projects relying on a tripartite process of building integrated teams in an organisation, developing software and nurturing the organisation in its use, and finally transferring knowledge and skills to the organisation for the long-term management of the software. Yet many companies are unable to avoid vendor lock when working with a partner on BOT and fail to adapt their people and operations to take full advantage of the knowledge and skills transferred to them.

Take a look at three advantages of Critical’s approach to BOT that can ease the burden of bringing new skills and technologies in-house.

Rapid team scaling 

Comprehensive and proactive training are key to ensuring project teams can rapidly scale up, servicing the client’s needs and providing a fully trained team to be integrated into their organisation. The Critical approach to BOT involves developing the system for our client within a specified time period using agile means. We create a software factory starting with a single squad of engineers of mixed seniority, whose competency centres are fine-tuned to ensure full operational readiness within short periods of time. The factory then grows horizontally in a rapid manner, with new squads complementing the original squad’s competencies. 

For longer term projects, and in addition to BOT, a joint academy can also be built into the process, whereby junior engineers are given the opportunity to learn both from the client and Critical. Our use of junior engineers allows for extensive training that fits the bespoke requirements of the project over the course of 2 months. This reduces client costs but does not compromise on quality, with junior engineers ultimately becoming valuable assets that can be acquired by the client at the end of the BOT journey.

Autonomous development

Critical’s approach to BOT focuses on autonomy at all levels, allowing our engineers to grow and develop through self-mentoring and giving the client full control over their system in the final phases of a project. Autonomy is added to every stage of the BOT process: we allow teams to adjust their numbers and the competencies they encompass based on the client’s requirements, removing any stifling rigidity from team structures. 

During the Operate phase, we allow teams to develop horizontally based on demand, ensuring all bases are covered. When the system is eventually transferred to the client, we grant them total ownership and control over where they take it as well as the option to acquire engineers on a permanent basis.

Effective system transfer

A downside to the traditional to BOT is that it doesn’t pay particular focus to the ‘transfer’ element of the process. Transferring the new system to the client and giving them the knowledge and the confidence to operate it successfully with limited support is integral to sustainable software development. The Critical approach of continually integrating engineers into the client teams differs from most BOT approaches, which end-load the transfer of knowledge to the client and fail to respond to their teams’ needs in a bespoke manner.  

A sustainable approach to BOT should focus on giving freedom to each of its elements. Teams should be given the chance to scale up organically; engineers should be given the space to adapt and expand depending on project requirements; and transferring system knowledge should be done in a bespoke way to suit clients’ needs.

Interested in managing critical development projects the right way? Learn more about how we can help you build, operate and take ownership of your systems, or alternatively get in touch with our expert for bespoke advice.