5 Must-Know Tips for Managing Software Developers
Managing software developers has a lot in common with managing other team members. Most developers want a manager who facilitates problem-solving during projects, helps them achieve career goals and protects them from office politics. At the same time, managing software engineers requires a few specific techniques that allow to increase developers’ productivity and help lead the dev team effectively.
Tip 1: Let developers do their job
As any other team members, developers want their skills and abilities to be valued and recognised. Trust your developers – they have all it takes to get the work done. Give your software team the opportunity to design solutions on their own – this will help them stay creative and perform in a way that benefits the company.
Tip 2: Help developers deal with non-development work
Nobody wants to deal with administrative paperwork or meetings that have nothing to do with their part of the project. As a manager, you should not only provide developers with a list of tasks with realistic requirements and deadlines. It’s also your duty to help them handle the non-development work and avoid operational overload.
Tip 3: Encourage progress
What distinguishes the best team managers is that they facilitate growth. Developers are always willing to improve their skills, and as a manager, you should look for and suggest areas where developers can refine their knowledge and acquire new skills. This helps engineers advance their career and professional development, and ultimately benefits the entire company.
Tip 4: Focus on quality over quantity
Some managers believe that adding more developers to a project will increase productivity. But it doesn’t work this way and often gives the opposite result – new engineers slow down development process until they get fully comfortable with the project.
The best solution is to break the project into smaller tasks (that can be done in a few days or weeks) and assign each member a specific role (coding, implementation, testing). Make sure every project team has developers of different levels – junior, mid-level and senior developers.
Tip 5: Avoid task switching
Many jobs require multi-tasking. But the problem is that instead of actually helping you, multitasking works against you. This is especially true for software development projects. Every interruption and switching from one task to another cost 15 minutes of lost developer productivity.
Try to avoid any interruptions and context switching as they lead to cognitive overload and result in poor performance. You can either ask developers to work on one project in the morning and another project in the afternoon. Or you can create smaller groups and dedicate each of them to a particular project.
Do you have a management tip to share? We’d love to hear from you!