Software teams today can easily become overloaded with work as demands increase across the organization. Combine project deliverables with constant cybersecurity threats and new requirements, and sustained high performance can be hard to come by. Deadlines are important, but so is the support system that helps teams get there. Review your standard practices to identify whether there are more meaningful and modern ways to drive productivity.
As a software team leader, you have to balance deadline demands with work quality, all while effectively managing employee output. Help your team stay on top of their game while avoiding burnout by improving practices at every project gate. Pair your expertise with best practices, employee feedback, and industry trends to arrive at solutions that work long-term.
Design Workflows That Make Sense for Software Teams and Their Unique Needs
Haphazard and inconsistent workflows can lead to more than missed deadlines. When teams aren’t using consistent processes that match their unique roles, dissatisfaction and frustration are quick to follow.
Review current workflows to determine whether they still suit your organization and team needs. Technology changes fast, and if your workflows don’t follow suit, your team and its tech could be working at cross purposes.
Streamline processes by using a software project management tool to ensure your team’s tasks are visible and handoffs are seamless. Plan resources, assign tasks and manage deadlines all within a clean dashboard. Leaders gain an at-a-glance view of where projects stand and can set alerts for critical deadlines and milestones. Plus, cloud-based tech can flex with remote and asynchronous teams across the globe.
Track and Manage Issues Logs Religiously
Testing teams are often the unsung heroes of the tech world, and their role on your software team is essential. Establish an issues log methodology and train your entire team on how to report, track, and resolve errors and bugs.
Set the expectation that all reporting parties should include the entire scope of the issue. When teams dig into reported problems with incomplete information, schedules are at risk and colleagues can become frustrated.
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Protect your established process and encourage team members to reinforce expectations, even if doing so could be uncomfortable. Reserve time in your meetings to review issues logs, elevating major issues or lingering tickets and ushering them toward resolution. Consider adding ticket resolution and days open to your teams’ shared metrics and goals to solidify their importance.
Establish Communication Expectations and Best Practices
Software teams can often work heads down for days, focusing on creating value for their end customer. But with multidisciplinary teams encompassing developers, UX/UI designers, product managers, and business strategists, communication is key.
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Play to the strengths and work styles of your team to establish communication expectations and best practices to improve productivity. When teams slack on communication, issues can get more complicated, leaving bigger problems to unravel. Plus, with different personality types filling a dynamic software team, too much or too little face time can be draining.
Consider your team’s makeup and identify its communication and collaboration sweet spots. Daily standups, focused project check-ins, and one-on-ones can create an open dialogue that your team sorely needs. Use collaboration tools to initiate chats for one-off questions and ensure your team knows that no question is off-limits. When teams know how and when to communicate, they can stay on task and resolve issues quickly.
Track and Share Key Metrics
Leaders may have the front-row seat to the organization’s metrics, but transparency can yield positive results. Review your key performance indicators to determine which metrics could inspire or motivate your team. Post project wins to communication channels to encourage more good work and congratulate key colleagues for a job well done. Reinforcing great performance can encourage others to follow suit.
Likewise, posting timeline-based metrics and flagged issues can incite urgency where it’s needed. For example, if your team’s ticket closure rate is lacking, showing monthly trends on shared dashboards can convey its impact.
Seek to inform rather than to shame, explaining why what you do matters for your end customer and product. Provide context to metrics to bring their meaning to life and introduce their reasoning into project updates and conversations.
Highlight the Greater ‘Why’ Behind the Work
Sure, your team is committed to developing a great piece of software. However, when deadlines get tight and resources are tighter, even the most talented individuals get worn down.
Reiterate the “why” behind the work your team does each day. If your product helps improve the lives of others, weave that message into your leadership language. Better yet, use customer personas as you discuss the user’s experience with your product.
Help your team connect with your customer on a more than surface level. Make their pain points, goals, dreams, and desires real as you discuss solutions and software features. Speak about the customer by name, partnering with your voice-of-the-customer team to accurately depict them. Share customer feedback and data so you can celebrate their wins with the team behind the software. When your team understands why their work is important, they’ll be more likely to perform at their best each day.