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How to Lead a Software Development Team Effectively & Efficiently

Management is generally an arduous task that requires poise, experience and a bit of intuition. Managing software developers,on the other hand, requires some levelheadedness as you will be dealing with people who are capable of making your project a flop or a success.

To be successful with project management and in particular with a software development team, you will need to have some of the techniques we shall discuss below.

Choose the right people

When you finally embark on a project, high on your list is the software development team to get the project done as required. It is important to select multi-skilled individuals to your team. This way, you end up with people who are differently skilled to perform varied skills effectively.

Similarly,you should go for a mix of personalities so that you have individuals who can cheer on the team when you are approaching deadlines and everything seems to just fall apart. A cohesive team with a shared culture will oftentimes be more productive than a diverse team.

The other things, of course, to look out for in a great team are their years of experience, creativity, initiative and are updated on the future tech developments.  Find a team of disciplined individuals with the stamina to pull through the project no matter how hard it gets.

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Communication is paramount

As a software development team manager, you will have to develop communication skills to help you create a common understanding within the team. You have to rally the team behind the project.  To do this, you might have to use flow charts or any other illustrative diagram to outline your project roadmap.

Additionally, you should be able to make each individual member of the software development team choose the specific tasks they are able to perform. This way, everyone gets to take a suitable role without the feeling of coercion.

After the role taking, as a software development team manager, you should clearly define each and everyone’s roles, responsibility and expectations. However, you should avoid appearing to be micromanaging the team or setting unrealistic targets.

Like any other team, you will have your fair share of conflicts. As a software development team manager, you should take responsibility for solutions. Having regular team meetings to discuss the project progress is important. During these meetings, you should amicably face these conflicts with the aim of solving them. You should never appear to be taking sides either.

Delegate tasks

As a manager, you should always identify each person’s strengths and weaknesses within the team and delegate functions to them. This has the effect of not only making the team members feel part of the project but also relieving you from the stress of having to juggle everything.

For managers, the higher you rise through the ranks, the lesser tasks you have to physically perform. Delegating tasks ensures you have enough time to focus on the emerging issues and project success

Be in charge, not in control

The most difficult part of management is the people aspect. To successfully complete a software development project, you should ensure everything goes as planned. You should always have your team in mind and try to develop a mutual relationship with them. They should see you as more of a team player than a boss.

By seeking the views and suggestions of the team members, you get to develop a working relationship with them. The result is a renewed commitment to achieving a successful software development project.

According to Ruban Siva, a senior software developer at HSBC, “Projects often deliver or fail based on the whether the technical design solves the underlying business requirement. If developers feel they don’t have a say in the technical design, apathy tends to set in quite quickly. But ultimately, the lead developer still needs to have the final say on technical decisions.” You should always strive to get the best out of every developer in your team for the overall success of the project.

Handle the boring jobs for the team

As a software development team manager, you should figure out the specific jobs your developers hate to do and take them up. For example, most developers hate to do non-technical jobs like report writing. You could take up these jobs and let them be engaged in coding.

Important to note is that every project is unique and may require a unique approach. However, with these techniques up your sleeve, you stand a better chance of pulling off pretty much every project you start. Definitely, there is no silver bullet on how to successfully lead a software development team. But with these considerations, you have one foot already into project success.

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