Software development is an art. It’s a mix of science, engineering, and day-to-day problem solving.
The challenge of software development is that it doesn’t have a single standard for how it’s done. Every company has their own processes, tools, and standards for what works best for them. This makes the entire field unpredictable.
Software developers often face challenges from all angles – whether it be management, co-workers, or customers. They deal with issues like unrealistic expectations from stakeholders, technical debt and project scope creep. How can you manage your team to work smarter and boost productivity? Working with software developers might seem like a mysterious process unless you’ve worked with them before. Many people have misconceptions about what they do and what their role entails.
Understanding Software Development
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the different levels of software development. Different types of projects will fall under the umbrella of these levels.
- Design and planning: This includes creating the workflows and architecture, user interface, and defining the product roadmap.
- Coding: The actual implementation of the product.
- Testing: Ensuring that the code functions as intended without bugs.
- Deployment: Putting the code into production. This is usually done gradually, as new features and code are completed.
- Maintenance: Fixing bugs, and enhancing the product based on user feedback.
Working with Software Developers
The backbone of the business is software developers, who frequently feel misunderstood or undervalued. As a product manager or project manager, here are a few strategies you can utilize. To begin, keep your projects’ delivery time realistic.
Most stakeholders have optimistic expectations regarding the time it takes to create a product. You can start by evaluating how long it takes to complete certain tasks. It is also important to communicate with developers daily to get feedback on their work and if there are any barriers. It is beneficial to ask questions or have them clarify points. To accomplish this, you must implement a remote work policy. The developers who are able to work in a distraction-free environment are particularly benefited by doing this.
Key to Success: Communication
Communication is key to managing software development. You want to make sure you’re meeting with stakeholders regularly to understand their expectations. This includes everything from the project timeline to budget. It also includes knowing what features are being prioritized over others.
You also want to keep your developers in the loop. This includes sharing feature requests that are coming from the business. It’s important to keep them up-to-date on what’s happening so they can make informed decisions on what to prioritize. Lastly, communicate with your team using a tool like Slack. This allows you to create channels for all kinds of communications, including feature suggestions, bugs, and general product questions.
More Development Practices That Help Boost Productivity
- Use metrics to track your team’s productivity. You can use tools like Jira or Toggl to create a time log of your team’s day-to-day activities. You can use this information to find ways to boost productivity.
- Hold regular team meetings. Once per week, have a team meeting to discuss what’s being prioritized and what’s being worked on. This helps keep people in the loop. Plus, it gives you a chance to ask questions and clear up any confusion that exists.
- Have written code reviews. Nothing holds a team accountable like writing down their work. This helps identify areas that need improvement, and it gives developers a chance to learn from their mistakes.
- Limit the number of open tasks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with task management. This often leads to not completing anything on the list. Limiting the number of open tasks per developer is a good rule of thumb.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something.
It can be frustrating when you feel like you have to have an answer for everything. The truth is, you don’t need to know everything. This is especially true if you’re working with software developers. Their job is to create and troubleshoot new things on a daily basis.
They’re constantly learning and experimenting with new technologies. It’s important to let them know you’re open to learning, too. That doesn’t mean you need to know how to code or understand everything they’re doing. It means letting them know you value their expertise and are eager to learn more about their field.