Tooling Proliferation

Tooling overlap is a common issue faced by many companies today, but it doesn't have to be...

Published on
March 29, 2023
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In today's fast-paced world, it's not uncommon for companies to have an abundance of tools at their disposal. When software teams are working with cloud software platforms these often come with a bewildering set of features which may already be implemented in a different system.

So, what happens when they start to overlap and become redundant? It’s a common (and messy!) issue to unpick – and it can significantly impact your productivity and efficiency. It can also become expensive, hindering ability to scale your teams and productivity.

What is it?

Tooling proliferation and overlap happens when different teams or individuals within a company are using the different tools for the same tasks, leading to wasted time and resources. Perhaps multiple departments are using different customer relationship management (CRM) systems, or multiple teams are using different project management tools.

A common example of this is the combination is Jira and Azure DevOps. Jira is loved by management teams, whereas Azure DevOps is often a developer favourite. However, the senior stakeholders in a business often want a simple roadmap view of when their new features or projects will drop.

Using multiple tools with similar capability can often present a laborious challenge to paint the picture needed by management… for example, the Finance Director may want to view how much each project is going to cost, and when those costs will be incurred, The CTO or Development Manager needs to ensure that there are the right developers on the right product teams.

Causes

Tooling overlap occurs for lots of reasons, including a lack of communication between teams, a lack of centralisation, and a lack of standardisation.

A big driver of adoption of comparable products is teams working in silos, meaning they may not have an awareness of the tools other teams are using. Additionally, without a centralised system for managing tools, it's easy for departments to adopt their own systems and processes, without considering whether similar tools are already in use.

Consequences

The consequences can be significant, including wasted time and resources, confusion, inefficiency, and decreased productivity. When teams are using multiple tools for the same task, it can lead to confusion and make it difficult to track progress. Plus, when resources are wasted on redundant tools, it can lead to decreased productivity and a lack of progress on important projects.

There is also likely to be valuable meta-information which is difficult or impossible to surface, such as tracking costs, tracking time billed / spent, or making a “single pane of glass” view for the leadership team to observe progress.

Solutions

To address tooling overlap, we’ve got a few practical suggestions:

Collaboration

Don’t begin your journey with tool setup as an afterthought.

Communication and collaboration between teams help to identify and eliminate redundant tools, while also fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Tooling should always be something that includes all departments across the company. But it’s so often overlooked. Different teams need distinctive features and tools to ensure the cleanest pipeline. This should always be captured when setting up your tools to make sure teams can work seamlessly together.

You might even find that your preferred tool will cover the needs of your management team and developers, without the need to increase cost and complexity.

Perfecting Integration

If you really do require multiple tools, it’s important to integrate them properly.

Make sure everyone has the features they need and integrate your tools as you set them up. Integration can be complex and difficult at times, so ensuring they work together before starting projects is vital.

The longer tools are in use without the proper setup, the harder it’s going to be to make changes. This can result in permanently lost data or high costs to retrieve the lost data.

Inventory and Standardisation

Creating a centralised tool inventory and implementing standardisation can also help.

A centralised inventory can help teams to identify and eliminate redundant tools. In addition, implementing tool standardisation can help to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

This is also something to bear in mind when replacing or hiring new leads for projects or teams.

Conclusion

Tooling overlap is a common issue faced by many companies today, but it doesn't have to be. By understanding overlap and how to address it, companies can improve efficiency and productivity. By creating a centralised tool inventory, implementing tool standardisation, and fostering communication and collaboration between teams, you can streamline their processes and focus on what's really important - growing your business.

What are your experiences and solutions for tooling overlap? We’d love to hear from you.

Contributors
No items found.

In today's fast-paced world, it's not uncommon for companies to have an abundance of tools at their disposal. When software teams are working with cloud software platforms these often come with a bewildering set of features which may already be implemented in a different system.

So, what happens when they start to overlap and become redundant? It’s a common (and messy!) issue to unpick – and it can significantly impact your productivity and efficiency. It can also become expensive, hindering ability to scale your teams and productivity.

What is it?

Tooling proliferation and overlap happens when different teams or individuals within a company are using the different tools for the same tasks, leading to wasted time and resources. Perhaps multiple departments are using different customer relationship management (CRM) systems, or multiple teams are using different project management tools.

A common example of this is the combination is Jira and Azure DevOps. Jira is loved by management teams, whereas Azure DevOps is often a developer favourite. However, the senior stakeholders in a business often want a simple roadmap view of when their new features or projects will drop.

Using multiple tools with similar capability can often present a laborious challenge to paint the picture needed by management… for example, the Finance Director may want to view how much each project is going to cost, and when those costs will be incurred, The CTO or Development Manager needs to ensure that there are the right developers on the right product teams.

Causes

Tooling overlap occurs for lots of reasons, including a lack of communication between teams, a lack of centralisation, and a lack of standardisation.

A big driver of adoption of comparable products is teams working in silos, meaning they may not have an awareness of the tools other teams are using. Additionally, without a centralised system for managing tools, it's easy for departments to adopt their own systems and processes, without considering whether similar tools are already in use.

Consequences

The consequences can be significant, including wasted time and resources, confusion, inefficiency, and decreased productivity. When teams are using multiple tools for the same task, it can lead to confusion and make it difficult to track progress. Plus, when resources are wasted on redundant tools, it can lead to decreased productivity and a lack of progress on important projects.

There is also likely to be valuable meta-information which is difficult or impossible to surface, such as tracking costs, tracking time billed / spent, or making a “single pane of glass” view for the leadership team to observe progress.

Solutions

To address tooling overlap, we’ve got a few practical suggestions:

Collaboration

Don’t begin your journey with tool setup as an afterthought.

Communication and collaboration between teams help to identify and eliminate redundant tools, while also fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Tooling should always be something that includes all departments across the company. But it’s so often overlooked. Different teams need distinctive features and tools to ensure the cleanest pipeline. This should always be captured when setting up your tools to make sure teams can work seamlessly together.

You might even find that your preferred tool will cover the needs of your management team and developers, without the need to increase cost and complexity.

Perfecting Integration

If you really do require multiple tools, it’s important to integrate them properly.

Make sure everyone has the features they need and integrate your tools as you set them up. Integration can be complex and difficult at times, so ensuring they work together before starting projects is vital.

The longer tools are in use without the proper setup, the harder it’s going to be to make changes. This can result in permanently lost data or high costs to retrieve the lost data.

Inventory and Standardisation

Creating a centralised tool inventory and implementing standardisation can also help.

A centralised inventory can help teams to identify and eliminate redundant tools. In addition, implementing tool standardisation can help to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

This is also something to bear in mind when replacing or hiring new leads for projects or teams.

Conclusion

Tooling overlap is a common issue faced by many companies today, but it doesn't have to be. By understanding overlap and how to address it, companies can improve efficiency and productivity. By creating a centralised tool inventory, implementing tool standardisation, and fostering communication and collaboration between teams, you can streamline their processes and focus on what's really important - growing your business.

What are your experiences and solutions for tooling overlap? We’d love to hear from you.

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