Teamwork on a project isn’t easy, especially when a team comprises developers. The best ones are confident and independent, which are traits not always conducive to a collective effort. That said, developers also possess just enough diffidence and humility to produce great collaborative work. Mixing in some coaching, effective communication, and project management software can make all the difference to any team, but especially a team of developers.
As a tech leader, it may be tough to keep those big, curious brains and coding talent working in unison. But that’s your job. As a result, if you fail to get everyone pulling in the same direction, you won’t be able to stay the course.
Your bosses are counting on you to build a formidable team. So are the individual members of your team because they know that’s how they’ll achieve goals. Here’s how to keep your team of developers on the same page, so they’ll produce stellar results in the least amount of time.
1. Be a great coach.
Your team is looking to you for leadership in many different forms. They’re seeking the right amount of guidance without being told exactly what to do. They’re looking for a mentor, a visionary, and someone who will provide and accept feedback with equal grace.
You should remember that project management isn’t all about the project itself. It’s at least as much about the people working to complete it, if not more. It’s your responsibility to manage both.
Provide the technical direction for the project, but then take a step back and get out of their way. Your team needs to be able to flex their individual creativity and solve their own problems. Your role is to support their failures, fixes, and wins.
You need to be a do-as-I-say-and-do coach by knowing the full scope of what needs to be done. Although you can make adjustments to the process as it progresses, you need to consistently articulate the endgame. That will keep each team member’s eye on the ultimate shared goal for the project.
Your team members are probably all capable developers, although their strengths and weaknesses will vary. Consequently, play to each member’s strengths and encourage others to compensate for the weak spots. Good tech leadership helps keep everyone looking in the same direction.
2. Keep communication channels open.
Nothing breaks up a team faster than a lack of communication. Those channels don’t just need to be constantly open and accessible. With some team members, you may need to provide the encouragement they need to take advantage of them.
Weekly development meetings provide a great way to gather the team and share who’s doing what. It’s a meeting that allows you time to stick to the technical details of a project, like coding and architecture. There’s no need to “dumb it down” for the non-technical.
As with any meeting, you need to share an agenda in advance, allow input, then stick to it. Meeting for the sake of meeting is a surefire way to send your team bouncing in different directions. Your meeting agenda should keep everyone on track, addressing relevant topics, and not wasting anyone’s time.
In addition to weekly meetings, you should also be using software that allows the free and constant exchange of ideas. At any time, one member of your team should be able to track where every other member is. They’ll save time and energy using a platform designed to facilitate team communication.
Great communication doesn’t just keep your team on the same page. It also keeps them from unnecessary duplication of efforts and roles. That’s never a waste of time and energy.
3. Use project management software.
There are a lot of options out there for project management software. To narrow the list of choices, find one that’s specifically designed for developer teams. It’s logical that software for the sales and marketing team may not work for developers and vice-versa.
Project management software for developers was probably created by engineers who understand how you work. It needs to work fast, help you get your get going, and provide latitude for tailoring the software. Not all projects, and not all developers, are created the same.
It should track the history of coding iterations, bugs, and fixes. That history doesn’t just end when you roll out the project because there will be bugs when you do. Your team’s management software should accommodate building on history for the lifetime of the product.
By automating the project’s workflow and tracking its progress, your team can focus on doing what they do best. There’s no need for you to micromanage your talent since everyone can access the same information at any time. It’s a perfect fit for independent thinkers working collaboratively.
Every member of the team can check statuses, issues, and progress in real time. And they can do it easily, remotely, and at their convenience. That will make it difficult for any team member to be out of the loop.
Read It Cover to Cover
Strong tech leadership is critical to keeping your development team on task. Add democratic communication flow and project management software designed for developers and staying the course will be easy.
There are traits that make talented developers excellent on their own. But that doesn’t mean that with a little proper encouragement and great tech tools they can’t play well with others.
A well-oiled team won’t just stay on the same page. In the same vein, they’ll be turning it together, so they can move on to the next one.