4 Tips For Managing A Software Development Team
Some software is the brainchild of a single person who also executes the development process on their own. More often, however, developing a piece of software is a joint operation within a development studio or a company of some kind. Sometimes the manager oversees this team as the head developer, sometimes as a business owner and sometimes as nothing more than a manager.
In all of these cases, managing a software development team comes with its challenges and today, we will be looking into some tips that will make this easier and more efficient.
Learn About Agile
Agile software development has all but replaced the old-fashioned waterfall method. It works for both small studios and large companies that put out huge amounts of updates and new iterations on a regular basis. Agile development simply makes more sense in the modern world, but it is far from being as simple as saying you are agile. Agile is more than just a buzzword and in order to be successful at managing an agile team, you will need to learn it in depth and find ways to apply its tenets to your team.
Take Advantage of Technology
One of the best things about managing any kind of a team in the modern world is that you have so many technological solutions at the tip of your fingers, just waiting to be utilized to boost the productivity and the quality of the work done. This, of course, goes for software developers too, perhaps even more than for some other kinds of teams.
For one, you will need a great piece of project management software and, if you are smart, you will go with a solution that is tailored to the needs of an agile development team. Before you choose, you should definitely do a comparison of project management tools and find the one that best suits your needs.
It goes beyond simply project management tools. For example, you might be managing a development team that spans continents and in such a situation, you will need great communication tools and ways to stay on top of things. New testing tools are also a huge plus, as well as various SaaS companies that can handle some of the work for you, if this makes sense for your team, of course.
When a team works on a piece of software and when the work is divided into smaller chunks, individuals and “sub-teams” tend to get insular and lack communication with other parties involved. This can lead to a whole number of problems. Probably the biggest problems arise when the actual work is not coordinated because someone forgot to send a memo or because a major change to the code is not shared between everyone.
Smaller problems arise as people stop conveying messages to one another and to you, the project manager. In such situations, it is only a matter of time before catastrophic mistakes are made.
As a manager, you need to do everything in your power to encourage and sustain communication. When development-related communication is concerned, it needs to be covered by rules and policies. People need to understand that the important changes and milestones need to be shared with everyone. They must be shared.
When it comes to interpersonal relationships, this is where your management skills will need to shine. Make everyone understand that they can approach you and that you are not overcome with vanity not to listen to them.
There is one fact that is true for every project, every team and every management challenge – problems will arise. No matter how careful and how good a manager you are, there are bound to be problems and in order to assail those problems, you will have to know how to do a few things.
For one, you will need to analyze where the problem started and why it occurred. Perhaps someone made a simple human error. Perhaps it is a problem that started off months ago and simply snowballed into the issue that it is at the moment. Perhaps it was your mistake and you need to own up to it.
Once you understand the problem and its causes, it is time to think about ways to remedy it. This will involve making a battle plan and coming up with tasks for the members of your team. Keep in mind that they are there to help you and that taking care of problems will go much easier if you tap into their expertise and their assistance.
Taking care of the problem is just one part of it. The next thing is to try and put in certain failsafe mechanisms that will ensure problems like that do not appear down the road.
Managing a software development team is a tough job. Fortunately, it is also one of the most rewarding jobs you can hope to have. With some smart practices and a good managerial approach, your team will be developing software that can change the world.