How to build a highly effective software development team
Software development is both a science and a process. If you are a project manager in charge of creating a software solution for a client, then you must have a team of professionals who would work with you towards a common goal. You have a creative team highly experienced in what they do and they are all geared to produce a solution that no one else has developed before. How do you go about it?
Proper Communication skills
Communication is the key for building a highly effective software development team. A highly effective team would provide value to a project, to a company and they remain productive even in adverse situations. When a team feels it has the support of its project manager, there is motivation and results will be naturally generated. That is why in every team, communication is the key; when you know how to communicate to your team internally and externally, success follows.
Meetings as and when necessary
While planning a communication strategy with your team, it is imperative how often you hold meetings. The meetings that you conduct must be qualitative. There is no point in holding meetings twice or thrice a day if it affects the working hours and productivity of your team members. While conducting meetings, it is important to cultivate introspection. Do a communication review – are you conducting a group meeting when all you need to do is have a discussion with just two or three members of the team? Isn’t it better to call just the necessary members of the team than call everyone? That way you can leave the rest to work on the project. Once the meeting with the selected few are over, you can send emails to the rest of the team and inform them of any developmental changes to the project. When you need to do a performance review, there is no need to call everyone in the team until absolutely necessary. Hence, when you communicate with your team, there are three basic things to remember
- Communicate less
- Communicate qualitatively
- Communicate efficiently
Planned meetings are scheduled interruptions and if the meeting is likely bring actionable results, then it is a waste of time. In order to ensure you don’t waste a single minute in the meeting, have chart of what is to be discussed, the list of questions to be asked and main objectives of the meeting.
Milestones and shorter work plans
Once the problem of communication is solved, you can plan for shorter work plans. Every project has milestones and when you cut shot the milestones and ensure everyone in the team deliver complete deliverables as per the milestone, there is success. You can shorten workplaces and make it easy for the rest of your team chart their own strategies, and even take risks. When you divide the project into different milestones, you can always go back and retrace the steps if you come across a hurdle. That way you don’t lose a lot of time trying to figure out the source of the problem.
A team must work like a team
If it is a team, it should behave like a team, which means there must be interdependence. There must be shared responsibilities and people with similar skills must be aware of each other’s tasks so they both won’t do the same thing and lose time. A team would share concerns, ideas and responsibilities so the project would continue as scheduled, and everybody would do their bit.
Building trust among team members
In order to successfully manage your team, you must be able to instill trust and respect among team members. If you are getting together a team of software professionals who have the reputation of not getting along with each other, then you must either be able to work it out with them and find out what is causing this friction or you must dissolve the team because there is going to be no progress without trust or respect. Trust takes time to build, but if it is among team members who have had a past, then it is going to take a longer time. If it is not possible to dissolve the team, then you will have to call everyone together, and see if it is possible to remove the friction.
Agile Methodology is the most successful feature driven development for project managers. Being agile helps team members to respond to unpredictability in a project. Scrum is another term used by project managers when they use agility in their project management. Thanks to the popularity of Scrum in Agile Methodology, many project managers have adopted this method of doing projects. Agile software development is a process through which project managers and team members get their work done. It contains a set of guidelines through which each team would be able to deliver maximum deliverable at minimum production cost. Agile methods have enabled effective workflow management and gets projects done faster. Agile methodology has made it possible for team members to work successfully on complex software development projects.
Learning to transition to Agile Methodology
It could be challenging for team members who are not used to agile working techniques to get used to it the first time. Project managers must learn to break their old habits if they want complete success with Agile. They must know what to do with processes and procedures that stand in the way of productivity. Only if the team works as one whole unit will they be able to commit successfully to the processes.
Interesting links about the topic:
Pictures: Flickr.com/ Cukier/ ter Burg/ Monitor
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.