The task list for someone managing developers doesn’t differ greatly for managing any other workforce. Like everyone else, developers rely on their manager to take care of the administrative tasks, and keep them free from workplace shenanigans. Everyone appreciates a manager who helps them meet their personal targets. But there are a few other practices that a software development manager needs to follow, so their software developers stay target-driven.
How to Manage Software Developers Effectively?
1. Trust Them with Their Work
Software developers love a manager who has faith in their abilities to get a job done. Developers love writing code and making things happen with it. Having a manager who lets them be, and trusts their ability as much they trust themselves is a big boost. It allows them to focus entirely on their work, and get the job done in the best possible manner.
Encourage your developers to find innovative solutions to show you trust them with the job. This act also helps them to be more creative and constantly challenge themselves.
2. Promote Improvement
Most skilled developers want to continue excelling in their work and improve themselves. Recognize their desire to grow as a developer, and help them achieve their goal. Set personal targets for developers which focus on their areas of weakness. These targets don’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as requesting them to write shorter codes can suffice. It keeps the developers engaged during down time as well. Moreover, it improves your technical direction, as you’ll learn to understand your workforce better.
3. Communicate with Developers
Keep asking your developers if they are facing issues meeting the requirements set forth beforehand. Ideally, you’d want to include your software developers in the project before it starts. Ask for their opinion regarding the requirements of the stakeholders. This allows the developers to modify the requirements, or even reject them if they find them unrealistic. Since they are the ones who have to work on it, your developers need to be consulted before the project kicks off, and when it is ongoing.
It’s just as important to ask for their opinions when the work is ongoing since coding is a multi-step task. You can use their opinion and feedback to modify requirements that are proving troublesome.
4. Use Proper Metrics
Checking up on progress is a good way to highlight areas of concern. It helps identify issues and devise strategies to deal with them. But this check needs to get done using the right metrics, otherwise you might spend extra time collecting data and delay the project’s delivery.
Involve your developers in identifying the right metrics. This way, you can understand what problems they face and work together on solving them. Check progress on a regular basis to see how the issues identified in a previous session have been handled.
5. Adopt the Latest Technology
There’s nothing software developers hate more than working on old, broken code or software. It’s not only difficult to understand and work with, it wastes loads of time. Developers often spend hours, or maybe days, stuck on an issue because of old technology or software being used. To keep their spirits up and keep them motivated, do away with redundant technology. Incorporate newer software that’s easier to work on. It excites developers to use the newest software in the business.
6. Train your Developers
A company may use the latest piece of technology, but the developers might not be familiar with it. The switch to modern tech can backfire if this happens. You can handle that issue by training your developers to use the newer software. Do a background check to understand what kinds of training programs are popular, and identify which ones are best suited for your developers. Finding the right training program helps your developers gain mastery over the software sooner, which helps reduce the lead time of the project.
7. Focus on Quality, not Quantity
Managers can face pressure to get their developers to finish a project sooner. Quite often, this issue is handled incorrectly by increasing the number of developers working on the project. Having more developers does not mean faster work. It almost always leads to confusion and miscommunication among the developers, and results in further delay. Focus instead on assigning specific tasks to your existing team of developers. It’s the quality of your workforce that needs to get fine-tuned. Having a team of varying experience levels and skill sets goes a long way in improving its efficiency and satisfaction.
Developers are human beings, too, and so, they love appreciation as much as others. But don’t just appreciate your developers for the good work they do. Make sure you highlight someone’s effort to take on a challenging or a less-coveted task. It improves the morale of the specific developer, and encourages the others to be more proactive and cavalier in their future endeavors.
It’s quite common to have developers or engineers who are introverts, so recognition means a lot to them in improving their confidence.
9. Stay Away from Multitasking
Big companies frequently work on multiple projects at a time. They also frequently make the mistake of having the same team work on multiple projects. It’s not uncommon to find developers working on one project in one shift, and another in the next shift. This breaks continuity. Coding is a profession that requires your developers to think about different scenarios of a problem, and find the most optimal solution. Breaking their thought process and forcing them to think about a different problem, causes the obvious problems of delay and exhaustion.
The ideal solution is to break your developer task force into separate teams for separate projects. Having specific problems to work on helps developers get the best out of themselves.
10. Take Care of the Un-Important Tasks
As mentioned earlier, developers love to code. But they aren’t much interested in anything else. Things like paperwork and non-technical meetings are a bother for developers, which they always attend reluctantly.
Make sure your developers have as much time as possible for their coding. Don’t trouble them with miscellaneous and non-essential jobs. Make sure the developers have a role in setting the requirements, as mentioned earlier. It prevents you from pestering them constantly about pending deadlines for unrealistic targets. Instead, give them a specific task list arranged according to priority level. It brings clarity to the developer, and allows them to focus on the important tasks first.
The best way to keep your superiors and the stakeholders happy is to keep your taskforce happy. A happy developer is the biggest asset to a manager. Small changes to make their environment less strenuous can help improve the overall operation of your business. If you take care of your software developers, your list of overall problems will be shortened drastically, as their good work will take care of you.
Did we miss anything out? If you have suggestions to help other readers, please share them in the comments section below!