I work in a small software company in a team of 5 people. We currently handle a good number of customers but as we onboard more it's becoming apparent that some of our policies are quite outdated and need improvement to be more efficient and less of a time sink. Areas of possible improvement include:
- Introducing productivity tools: New team members have taken these on board (Slack, Trello, Basecamp) and it's a significant improvement with day-to-day communication and workflow.
- Erratic version control practices: Only one branch per project, releasing breaking changes to the branch used for production code rather than branching, with no communication that there are breaking changes.
- Not being strict enough with scope creep: A lot of our business relies on word-of-mouth so some scope creep is accomodated to give good PR, but sometimes the line is drawn too late and it leads to project delays which our customers have commented on.
- Lack of visibility on hours allocated to projects: Makes it difficult to know how to prioritise and pace work. Sometimes smaller projects with larger budgets are done with time to spare, but other times larger projects with tight budgets aren't communicated until it's becoming an issue and we're rapidly approaching the time allocation with more work still to do.
I've spoken to my boss about things in the past and had procedures implemented which have been useful (for example, close of project meetings which have helped future projects go more smoothly), but the noted bulletpoints, especially use of productivity tools and version control practices seem to be a sticking point. My boss is very hands-on and gets involved in the delivery of projects, and as such is very busy. Team members have mentioned this in passing as well as colleagues that have since left the team, but it still didn't really incite any permanent change. It's apparent that improving on these points will help the team, as between myself and the team members that have taken on the productivity tools, it's really made day-to-day work more efficient. The problem is that my senior and my boss are reluctant to take this on when I'm trying to lead by example.
Points 3-4 are really out of my control as I have no say in management, so I can't lead by example, especially as they're more of a team effort, but they are points that I think could be addressed.
How do I address procedural concerns and improvements with my boss and senior in a way that they'll be receptive to the suggestions?
I worry about bringing this up because I don't want to come across as confrontational or causing issues, but I think this needs to be addressed as our client base grows. They are sticking points that we kind of just muddled through in the past, but I foresee them becoming more of an issue the longer it goes on and the busier we become.