Why does my team keep missing deadlines?

You’ve got a talented engineering team—but for some reason, release deadlines keep getting pushed back every time. It means that you’re spending more on labor for each cycle than you’d anticipated, and aren’t able to prioritize adding new features.

It’s not that your team members aren’t working; they’re always busy and the late nights have been taking a toll on them. But might they be spending their time on the wrong things?

Here are some tips for increasing your development velocity and sticking to your deadlines:

Conduct a time audit

Where are your developers actually spending their time? Rather than writing code, are they participating in endless meetings? Are they spending several hours a day in chat windows, asking and answering the same questions repeatedly? Keep an eye on how often they’re getting distracted and losing their train of thought: A study found that it takes 23 minutes to refocus after every workplace distraction.

Look for opportunities to refocus

Once you’ve realized where your team’s problem areas are, come up with strategies to help them stay in their most productive zone. For example, you can set up a daily meeting time and then ask your whole team to stay offline after that for a 4-hour block before asking or answering any questions. If a developer gets stuck on a task, set up backup tasks that they can work on until they have support again.

Create a knowledge-sharing platform that your team can use on their own time

You can improve productivity by reducing the need to ask and answer questions multiple times. By implementing a knowledge-sharing platform for your team to use, you can integrate all of the existing institutional knowledge that your team already has, and ask them to add to it with their own questions and answers as issues arise. Your team will be able to use this resource independently on their own time, avoiding the need to interrupt their teammates.

By building a streamlined process that helps developers spend more time coding and less time repeating information, you can help them increase productivity and hit their deadlines.

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