How to Manage a Software Development Team

Want to how to manage the software development team effectively?

Want to ensure your team remains happy, engaged, and productive throughout the day?

But,

  1. What does it take to build a good team?
  2. How to ensure clear goals amongst the team members?
  3. What to do to increase communication and collaboration?

Get all your questions answered from this blog. To write this blog, we have communicated with our project managers, consultants, and team leaders. From their insights, we have put together 13 pointers to effectively manage your software development team.

Check the 13 tips to know how to manage your software development team.

13 Tips on How to Manage Your Remote Software Development Team

If you have a remote team, ensuring proper and smooth development becomes challenging. Managing software development team is not easy. Because every software development team structure is different depending on the requirements. With different work timings, separate schedules, and working methods, getting the work done on time and accelerating the deliveries becomes difficult.

However, with the right tips, you should get this sorted.

  1. Hire a Team that Fits the Job Specifications

  2. You will not use in-person hiring processes or methods when you work remotely. You will depend on them to get the work done, and they won’t be available at all times.

    So, how does this work? On trust! If you can trust your team, you can create the winning application required to satisfy the end-users.

    Say you are based out of Singapore while your team works in India; there is a slight difference in the timings. Apart from that, they will have different working structures and schedules. As a manager, you must stay approachable, define roles for the members, and believe in your team.

    Make sure they can reach out to you whenever needed. Trust their ability to complete the task. So, a successful project is the result of a trusted team. For this, you will need to take time out to hire software developers who offer their best to the project and are proficient with remote work.

  3. Tell Your Experts the Problem and Wait

  4. You have hired experts to overcome the challenges and meet the deadlines. Imagine you are bad with time management and hired a virtual assistant. Now, the assistant will look into helping you manage the schedule and ensure you are ahead of time. You are not going to do their job.

    Similarly, your experts are responsible for the coding or development challenges. So, once you have shared the project requirements, tell them what the complexity is, you need to wait for the magic to unfold.

    For example, if you have been facing a challenge with how to incorporate a complex AI algorithm into your app, an expert with database management and AI/ML technologies can help solve it.

    You need to keep a hawk’s eye on the potential experts and hire experienced software development company to improve your capability.

    Looking for a Remote Team for Your Project?

    Get in touch with us. We have experienced software developers who understand your project requirements easily and provide you with an innovative solution.

  5. Define the Roadmap and Set the Expectations

  6. Once you have a solution in place and know what is expected (after a lot of brainstorming), it is time to define the scope of the work. Why is scope essential?

    When working with a remote development team, you don’t have the liberty to stay in the same room and discuss things. There will be delays in case you keep adding or deleting the scope.

    If there is no planned phase or milestone, the delays will be greater compared to on-site development.

    When setting the scope, remember to divide the work into phases and attach timelines.

  7. Setup the Processes and Mention the Guidelines

  8. Though the software development teams are expert in what they do and has come out with solutions to your problem, they are still young in your team. They must blend into your ways of working and adapt to your processes.

    Before you start assigning work, it is crucial to know what a software developer does as it helps to clarify the process guidelines, expectations from the team, and how you work or collaborate.

    If you want, you can set up the right tools to help you deliver on time. This will also ensure you are all on the same page.

    Make sure you have introduced them to how documentation works at your organization. You can expect better outcomes if the processes are transparent and the guidelines specific.

    If you are a product-based company, as a manager you might want the developer/team to understand the product, its premise, and your goals before the development begins.

  9. Break Down the Complex Problem and Assign Tasks

  10. When you are working remotely, allocation plays an important role. Everyone can’t work on the same code simultaneously. Again, this will make the “too many cooks spoil the broth” statement true.

    Instead of having them work on the same code, break down the coding task into smaller versions. Share the individual problems with your software developers. Have a single platform where they can share the build, test, and deploy their application.

    When you have a person working on individual problems, they feel empowered as they are solving a single issue.

    This will eventually make every team member efficient. Ultimately, it will help manage the software development teams effectively, as you know what each member is accountable for. When you have many developers, this method of managing them helps.

  11. Don’t Negotiate Absurd and Impossible Schedules

  12. As product managers, we focus on due dates and want to accelerate feature deployments as early as possible. If our clients require a particular feature, we push the development team to meet the timeline specified, even if it is not appropriate or workable.

    Even with expert developers on your team, this is not effective management. The developers can give only a certain output within the specified timeline, and accelerating it can provide you with a half-baked outcome.

    They will not write code alone; they will be working on enhancing the quality of the code and offering an irresistible feature. That’s why the project manager should consult the development team before providing the timeline for the best outcome. This will also help avoid office politics.

  13. Stay Open to Ask Questions and Seek Help

  14. You have hired a technical team for the software project. They may have better technical proficiency as compared to you. As a result, when you seek status reports, they may provide you with a lot of technical information you may not understand.

    Overcome your lack of technical skills by learning from them. For instance, if there is a status update on database design that you aren’t too sure about, ask them what they mean. Get them to explain in plain language.

    It will help you better plan and understand the project completion status. You will be able to send direct reports to your upper management about the project issues, status, and potential completion date.

  15. Don’t Command, Lead by Example

  16. Nobody likes being commanded. If you want the best results, like the next Twitter or Grammarly from your team, you should always let your team work in peace.

    If they know their jobs, let them work on them. Intervene when they need your help or assistance. If they are stuck, identify ways to solve the problem.

    Never lead by telling them what to do; show them the possibilities or how you can do it. An example would be how you would solve a challenge they approach you with. Offer them valuable insights, show them the path, or tell them who can help.

    Say your team member is stuck when writing code and needs help. However, you have next to no technical knowledge, but you are aware of people who would. Get them connected with the right people, and they would appreciate your help.

  17. Provide Them with Tools & Resources they Need

  18. Despite the specialized skills and expertise, they may need tools and resources to improve their productivity and increase their development speed.

    A happy developer has all the things that they need. At the same time, make sure you don’t overcomplicate things by giving them tools they don’t need. We all get confused when bombarded by tools, thinking which are the ones we need.

    Invest in their soft skills (which come in handy when facing clients), online courses (for upskilling), and ensure the team’s time is spent learning ways to further their career.

  19. Leverage the Overlapping and Different Time Zones

  20. It is important to leverage when you work with remote teams, especially in different time zones. When managing a software development team, you might believe this can be a defect.

    Let’s take a scenario to explain this better. Say your team committed to the build at 5 pm their time, and you started your work at 6 pm. As a result, you could go through the entire build, identify the issues, give your feedback, and let them know what changes need to be made. When they rejoin work, they already have the feedback and can work on it.

    As a result, your team efficiency increases, and you can meet the deadlines.

  21. Set Effective Communication and Collaboration Methods

  22. Effective communication is essential in a remote work environment for a better job. If something needs urgent attention, you might fail to receive the message if your communication is not up to the mark. As a result, things can get delayed, which nobody likes.

    Setup tools and processes that help with communication. For example, if you want something communicated in real-time, use tools like Slack or Whatsapp. You can collaborate with Jira or other project management software tools for coding and development. Defining the project management software during the planning phase can help with effective communication.

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    Talk to us. We have an experienced team of business analysts, developers, designers, testers, and project managers to successfully build your product.

  23. Have One-on-One Meetings

  24. When you work remotely, nobody knows what the other person is doing. This can cause chaos if things aren’t discussed, issues are not communicated, and reasons for delays are not mentioned.
    You can connect with your team members individually with one-on-one meetings on Zoom, Teams, or other specific channels. Discuss everything, including the jobs allotted, and the project progress.

    However, having too many meetings can also dampen the spirit. If a start-of-the-week standup and an end-of-the-week meeting work, you can have them.

  25. Provide Regular and Timely Feedback

  26. As soon as a development lifecycle comes to an end, it is time to give your team some feedback on the work they have done. You can provide feedback on what went well and how to improve the working in the coming lifecycle for the next features and functionality.

    This feedback will help improve the sprints, measure the abilities, and improve the processes. Have an open discussion with your team on what they believe were their strong points and where they get stuck.

    It is possible that despite covering all these points, you may have some questions regarding the process. Answering some of the frequently asked questions could help you too.

FAQs About How to Manage a Software Development Team

  1. How to lead software teams as a non-techie?

  2. Knowing your team before bringing in changes and asking questions about things you don’t understand can help you manage the team effectively as a non-techie. Know your strength as the team lead, empower your technical team, and minimize distractions for better productivity.

  3. What are the tools to manage a software development team?

  4. Here are all the tools you need to manage effectively

    • Amazon AWS: to create, collaborate and store projects
    • Project Management Tools: Jira, Wrike
    • Communication Tools: Zoom, Slack
    • Measuring Tools: Heatmap, Hotjar
    • Time tracking tools
    • Hiring tools
    • Documentation Collaboration tools
  5. What skillset should a development manager have?

  6. Here’s a list of all the skills that software development managers should possess

    • Communication skills
    • Project management ability
    • Analytical and problem-solving ability
    • Time management
    • Reporting and communication
    • Managing high demand
    • Hiring the right team
    • Defining the roles and team structure

Conclusion

As a project manager, you are a mediator between your team and the developers. It is akin to leading any other team. For successful projects, you need to ensure that software development progresses smoothly. While your developers are busy working on the build and debugging the blocks, you should have a way to measure and update the progress.

You can enhance your capabilities with the proper software development process, a planned approach, and the right remote development team. Make sure to leverage the time differences, use effective methods of communication and stay accessible to your team.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.