How to successfully manage and lead a team of software developers is a common question among fresh and experienced managers. There are many factors that a manager needs to consider when handling a development team, including their temperament, different time zones, scheduled communication and clear deadlines. With the right plan and project management framework, the group can stay on target and maintain a purpose in the long term and learn how to successfully manage a team of software developers.
While software development teams are a new addition in nearly every company, the management skills required to scale their productivity are similar to those needed in other teams. Therefore, it is essential to understand how critical the results of your development team are and their contribution towards fulfilling business goals. With this in mind, this article looks at some of the best strategies seasoned managers use to help maintain effective results with their software development team.
How to successfully manage and lead a team of software developers?
Developing good software on a large scale with the right project management strategies that keep the overall development process healthy and innovative with structured deadlines, expectations, and good communications is possible. But, to do that, you need excellent communication and leadership skills as a team manager.
Different ideologies and opinions exist on what works best for various development teams. However, the primary principles are still based on core management skills. It would be best to put your team’s needs first and then align the company’s objectives with your workflow. It is essential to be open to giving and receiving advice, but it is also imperative to be strict with your deadlines. It would be best to plan so your team could fulfil the expectations and plan their workflow and communication.
In the sections below, we will discuss some crucial factors contributing to a good project management experience, resulting in satisfaction and productivity.
The first step to succeeding as a team manager is hiring the right professionals that are diligent, skilled and responsive to changes in strategy. If you hire correctly, you can maintain optimal productivity, and there will always be a rush to crisis train employees, which makes it all the more difficult to grow as a firm.
Some firms hire the wrong people to save on costs without realising the ROI that comes with a good hire, and it can be very dissatisfying to manage and work with employees who do not value their position in the company. So if you pick out your team, test them accordingly to assess their technical and problem-solving skills.
It is also essential to check whether or not they are punctual and possess the right set of skills, an understanding of CRM and project management frameworks and work towards fulfilling business objectives.
Another central part of establishing a solid team of developers is ensuring that everyone knows their responsibilities and thus knows the tasks that are expected of them. For example, using project management software, you, as a manager, could list deadlines in one place, ensuring that the team can view them on time.
The people on your team need to be sure they can fulfil all of the demands of the business, which means it is vital for them to be thoroughly prepared to tackle the given projects beforehand. As their leader, you must remember that it can be difficult for developers to prioritise their workloads when problems must be fixed immediately, and new code must be produced simultaneously.
Utilising the digital technologies around project management, you may give each individual a specific task, enabling the entire team to stay on track. Therefore, task allocation will allow you to pivot and reassign work if urgent demands arise. This will also help you and your teams identify the most critical issues to focus on.
It is hard to stress the importance of meeting deadlines within an organisation. Monitoring the given dates is essential to the success of an organisation because missed deadlines affect your team’s reputation. If there is any danger of the estimated deadline not being met, as the leader, you must inform all important and involved stakeholders of the details.
Since all jobs are not designed the same way, using relevant software to keep an accurate track of deadlines allows you to monitor many deadlines simultaneously and comprehend how your due dates compare. In addition, ensure that your team and any relevant project stakeholders are in the know through proper communication if any changes need to be made within the estimated deadline.
At some point, being a team leader requires passing judgement on others, which may come off as hostile to the other members. However, laying down requirements is essential to managing a software development team and creating high-quality software.
Clearly defining the scope of the development work and expected deliverables within a particular timetable and centralising them within your project management platform will help ensure that developers are on the same page and know exactly what to work on.
Understanding software development
This section is essential for skilled managers from non-technical academic backgrounds. Communicating with and managing employees who speak a different technical jargon can be challenging. A common mistake you should avoid in such cases is assuming that you know everything. Instead, it is imperative to be proactive with communication and understanding the processes that your team members are working on.
While it is difficult to grasp the knowledge of a university degree when managing a team, it is possible to get a general overview of the operations so you can manage deadlines and expectations accordingly. To learn additional methods for upskilling your tech team, read this article.
It can help to join the junior and senior developers for an out-of-the-office chat to ensure everyone understands where they are. During client meetings, you can bring on a team member to explain the technical aspects of the project after you have outlined the primary goals. Most importantly, it would be best to understand your strengths as a leader and not shy away from embracing your weaknesses and learning to improve.
What are the traits of an ideal team manager?
An ideal team manager helps his team to shine and push ahead of expectations with innovative solutions. This requires experience, leadership, and organisational skills and the ability to be confident with their skillset. Good leaders know where to delegate and step in to clarify objectives, helping keep everyone on track.
Here is a look at some key skills and qualities that are synonymous with a good leader:
Good communication skills
Developers are creative professionals who like to solve problems and hate being micromanaged. Therefore, it is essential to respect their needs for professional space and stay moderate with communication. However, good communication from the start of a project helps establish interest in the process and keeps the door open for queries, meetings and suggestions.
Good leaders will have to be diligent in analysing the submissions of all the team members and providing specific feedback that will help them to improve their operations. In addition, it is crucial to ask deeper questions to understand complex processes and approach problems with different perspectives.
Another thing to note is that meetings are supposed to aid a workflow and not disturb it. So schedule accordingly over a tool like Zoom or Google Meet, and pre-plan all communications that require the whole team’s attention at least a week in advance.
While communication and cooperation are the backbones of any good team, there needs to be a leading position among the members to keep everyone in check and to ensure that business objectives are met.
It is a must for any manager to be an excellent leader to their team. An effective team leader encourages dialogue and cooperation and makes it simpler for everyone to express their thoughts. Therefore, as the development team leader, you must ensure the members have adequate time to develop soft and technical skills.
Familiar with project management software
In a team of software developers, one of the main ways to ensure effectiveness in the work ethic is to make sure everyone is aware of the stages in the project and knows what has been done and what hasn’t. Thus, utilising the right tools to maintain collaboration between members regarding project management is essential. To learn more about project management and data science, read this article!
As the team leader, you can choose which tools to utilise by considering your team’s requirements. Some excellent options include Monday.com, Trello, ClickUp or Asana. If the members are not able to communicate in person due to the possible remote nature of the given work, then it becomes even more critical to utilise project management tools properly.
Time zones are one of the biggest obstacles to creating a smooth and responsible work environment. Working with team members in various time zones can lead to communication gaps. To minimise the adverse effects of such a situation, consider scheduling urgent and regular team meetings during hours that cross time zones, thus maintaining an effective schedule that promotes productivity.
If a leader is not innovative, the quality will likely rub on to the other team members, making it difficult to design solutions that feel fresh and leave the competition behind. With the constant changes in the tech industry, innovation helps team managers stay updated with market trends.
Some other benefits of implementing an innovative approach to problem-solving are improved brand recognition, cost savings, increased productivity, better client relations and, of course, increased revenue and profits!
Suppose you choose effective strategies that other managers have tried and tested. In that case, you are more likely to see results within your software development team, whether they do their job in-office or remotely.
If you want to transition to a career in software engineering or other tech areas, book a career consultation session with one of our experts and get the right plan to move forward!