Maximilian Wolf
Maximilian Wolf
Founder of SolveHub
Software complexity

Waiting times frustrate developers and cost productivity

Modern developer teams constantly face waiting times, caused by increasing complexity, delays, and dependencies on other teams.

While working on a task, developers get blocked by a problem. Resulting in the developer asking other team members for clarification. The task is now stopped until the blocker is solved. Forcing the developer to work on other tasks.

This is a problem.

The mental costs of switching between tasks and contexts reduce productivity.

The days or weeks until the blocker is solved delays the task and business value.

The developer becomes frustrated, wanting to get more meaningful work done.

Waiting times come from tasks that are blocked. It's incredibly frustrating as a developer to know you could finish your work if your blocker would be solved.

Maximilian Wolf, Founder of SolveHub Tweet

Frustrating developer experience

Blockers impact not only the productivity of developers but also their work experience. Being frustrated with waiting, switching too often between tasks, and getting less work done.
Waiting times originate from requiring feedback from others. Developers are very well capable to solve technical problems by themselves. It’s the communication that blocks the work.
Frequent reasons for being blocked:
  • Decision is required from a stakeholder
  • Task requires input from other developers
  • Implementation requires collaboration with other teams
  • Documentation is unclear
  • CI/CD pipelines are not working
  • Tech debt found
  • Better approach to problem discovered
  • Code must be reviewed

There are two common approaches to dealing with blockers. Both have significant disadvantages:

  1. Wait until the blocker is solved. Results in waiting for days to weeks, until the task can be continued.
  2. Assume the solution and keep working. Results in days of work that can be wasted by assuming the wrong solution.

Organizations face less productivity

The impact of blockers has increased over the last few years. With the world going remote, development processes becoming more complex, and dependencies increasing between teams.

Waiting times are overlooked.

Organizations are e. g. trying to reduce meetings because of their immense costs. Trying to reduce them to optimize productivity. But blockers are untouched, embodying untapped potential for greater productivity.

The costs of blockers remain unnoticed. Like the invisible interest rates on a loan, if you don't pay attention. But in reality, the interests can surpass the total sum you originally borrowed.

Maximilian Wolf, Founder of SolveHub Tweet

Lost time
Waiting takes time away from getting more work done. This results in expensive development time being wasted. Blockers frustrate developers by wasting their time.

Lost productivity
Organizations invest heavily into talent, processes, and tools to increase productivity. Solving common problems to increase the output. Blockers remain hidden and reduce the productivity of developer teams.

Lost innovation
Software products face an ever-increasing pace and pressure of competition. Ongoing innovation is critical for successful organizations. Blockers reduce the speed of innovation by slowing down the work of developers.

Tools for solving blockers

Before working remotely, blockers were resolved faster. Either by just going to the other table in the office or by talking during breaks about the problem. This is no longer the case.

Async communication is hard.

Developer teams work with many tools to collaborate and get work done together. Project management tools allow to plan and track tasks. Communication tools allow chatting directly and in group channels. But both types of tools fail to solve blockers quickly.

Like duct tape, the current tools just hold things together. Which is bad, if you want to build a high-performing engine vs. a simple tree house. They are the wrong tools to solve blockers quickly.

Maximilian Wolf, Founder of SolveHub Tweet

Think about it:

For 6 months, I talked with +40 developers, VPs, and CTOs. All use modern tools to work together. But blockers were still a problem, heavily impacting the work of developers.

There must be a better way.

On a mission to reduce waiting times

We’ve made it our mission to solve blockers faster.

We acknowledge that the current tools are liked, embedded in existing processes, and fulfill their purpose.

We believe that to solve blockers faster, a platform is required that integrates into those tools. Allowing developers to see what’s important, act immediately, and collaborate across teams.

We look forward to building this platform and contributing to a better future of more meaningful and productive work.



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