SDS and future product development  Tom Hedges January 16, 2024

SDS and future product development 

A short introduction from SDS’ Director of Technology, Zak Baba

SDS will be changing how we do things in 2024, using modern, agile software development techniques to bring our new Cloud platform to life.  

First, a bit of background. I’m the new Director of Technology at SDS with a track record of building and coaching modern agile teams.  

I’ve taken some time to learn what could be working better from a product delivery point of view and pain points for our customers. One major problem appears to be updates, especially for those customers that remain on-premise. Getting, already stretched, in-house IT Teams time to implement updates is always a challenge meaning that keeping up to date with the latest software becomes a problem.  

Add to that the need to update, patch and release new features, this compounds the problem further, especially when frequent updates are a reality of modern software. Think of your smart devices and how many times you have to accept updates for the apps and the hardware in any given week. The software world moves quickly and we should be no different. 

This is where our new Cloud platform comes into play. With a platform in the cloud, accessible through your web browser, your in house IT team doesn’t need to be involved in any of the updates or the maintenance of the software so that fixes and updates can happen faster than they currently do.  

I understand that the cloud platform has been an ambition for us for a while so I wanted to elaborate on the actions we are taking to help us deliver our cloud platform as soon as possible. 

Agility and Scrum at SDS 

Something I’ve learned since joining SDS is that we have an extremely capable and talented Development Team. This isn’t always a given, but luckily, we have that here! 

Something that we need to lean into is the art of being agile in helping us reach our goals, specifically, the use of an agile framework to help us get work completed faster. Our chosen framework is Scrum. If you are interested in Scrum, I can suggest the book called ‘SCRUM – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time’ by Jeff Sutherland who is a co-creator of Scrum. 

What this helps us do is break up large tasks, such as a move to our new Cloud Platform, into smaller manageable chunks that we can release more frequently. I have included an illustration of how we are going to be structuring ourselves to help us deliver this sooner.  

We are currently developing a quarterly roadmap which we hope to share with you all in the coming weeks, which is the first part of breaking things down into smaller meaningful and manageable work items, which also helps us communicate progress better with you all. 

We will be splitting those quarterly goals into smaller two-week chunks (called sprints). Then we will be planning the two week sprint together, checking on our progress every day to make sure we stay on track. At the end of the two weeks we will be reviewing where we have got to and then, if all went right, releasing the work we’ve completed. It’s based on an agile framework called Scrum and will look a little like this:  

Something else we are doing to help us get things done faster is recruiting extra resources with interviews scheduled over the coming weeks. Part of this recruitment will include boosting our QA capability to increase our automated test capacity to ensure we can move quickly but maintain a high standard of quality moving forward. 

Soon we’ll be reaching  a key milestone and that’s having the cloud version of Landval ready to show off, which will showcase where we are headed  across the whole suite of products.

If you’d like to get a first look at what’s happening there or would like to get involved with the development of this, please do get in contact to be involved in sessions we are currently planning. 

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