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Managing a team of individuals that are both creative and logical can be a tricky process. Lead developers need to find the right combination of people to work together, resolve conflicts, while creating software that users find useful.
Bad managers don’t know how to manage a group of people who write good software. Here are 7 tips for managing software teams.
1. Keep Tasks Small
The more coding there is, the more time there will be. Keeping tasks small prevents everyone from taking on more they can handle, keeping the developmental period in check. It’s akin to cleaning the inside of the fridge: instead of scrubbing everything at once, you start by removing the items from one shelf.
Then you wash the shelf and return the items. Once finished, you begin the process on the next shelf. Dividing the big task (clean fridge) into smaller ones (remove items/wash shelves/return items) keeps the project flowing.
Communication is important on any project. Even so, being 100% clear on what it is you—as the lead developer—wish to achieve is critical.
This means making sure each team member knows what their specific role is, and what they will do to help reach the goal. This can be done by building a prototype to use for visual reference to help team members stick to the plan.
3. Avoid Burnout
Developing software is not a sprint. No manager can push their teams beyond the breaking point for extended periods of time and expect them to maintain. This causes burnout, which slows the production line to a creeping halt that’s rife with bugs.
Remember the adage: slow and steady wins the race. Companies that offer service management can greatly help reduce the amount of burnout that happens to your employees.
4. Determine Your Needs
What does your development team need? It doesn’t matter how skilled you are as a developer, without the right hardware and resources, the project is going to be derailed. Thus, the reason why you must stay informed about what the team and project needs.
If teams are separated from each other, geographically (for example), workloads suffer. Thus, the importance for having all the teams work in the same workspace, instead of different locations – even throughout the building.
Even people who work in different departments will share information with each other, giving each other feedback and insights into what to expect about the software. It’s a win-win situation.
There is a great irony here: being a manager doesn’t mean micro-managing teams, tasks individuals every single inch of the way. Coders make computers do exactly what we want them to do.
People are not as easily controllable – and management cannot change this fact. Trust your team to follow the easily-explained plan—via the prototype and vision—and create the software.
7. More Team Members?
Problems occur in any software dev project – that goes without saying. It may make sense to add more members to the team to take care of that problem, be it a bug, error syntax or more complicated issue.
Doing so makes the problem worse: by adding more manpower, progress will be slowed down. Everyone will offer their own two cents on an issue that can’t be brute forced into completion.
Following these tips will help your software teams create a more effective, useful software application for users in a more time-efficient manner.
Managing software teams isn’t rocket science, no matter how time-consuming and stress-testing it may be. Being a manager means more than merely telling people what to do and when.
It means knowing how the organization (and its products) will compete in the marketplace, then create products that will help the marketplace and customers fix their problems.
It means avoiding criticizing team members when they make a mistake, and reinforcing their self-esteem and morale.