30 December 2021

Loose Ends: Things to Address When Leading a Software Development Team


Building a successful software development team is not an easy task. Managing one is even more challenging, as management doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, with some tricks up your sleeve, you can oversee software development effectively and successfully.

And I can help you! In this article, I'll introduce you to strategies and best practices for building a successful software development team and addressing any loose ends. 

How to Successfully Manage Your Software Development Team 

Let's discuss eight key strategies for managing software development teams. Abiding by these insights, you’ll be able to optimise your team’s potential and significantly enhance your software development process, as well as address loose ends. 

Present information from management to your technical team 

As a team manager, your job is to operate as a natural link between your team members and upper management. You have access to exclusive information and in order to lead successfully, you must know how to present it to other workers. 

You need to focus on the most important information and form your message accordingly to suit the people you want to share it with.  By choosing only relevant info, you respect your co-workers' time and skills. There's no need to bother your team with unimportant statistics, data and ideas - be selective and clear in your message. 

Set clear goals  

Clarity and understanding are the two most important pillars of good communication. If you want your co-workers to operate on their highest performance, you need to set clear objectives for them. To perform well, members of your team must understand what exactly is expected from them and what their responsibilities are.  

As a mentor, you need to make the goals public and understandable, to make sure that everybody is on the same page. Understatements and misinformation can disorganise even the most talented and experienced teams. 

Understand the concerns 

There are some things that you can't fix on your own. However, as a team lead, you must meet your subordinates' expectations and provide them with viable solutions, or at least with a platform to express their concerns or worries. 

As I mentioned before, good leaders know how to operate between their subordinates and superiors. If your team member expresses any concerns that are beyond your competencies or raises an issue that needs some clearance from your boss, you need to run their case for them.  

It's also a good idea to introduce an open-door policy: any time one of your team members needs help you make time to speak with them. 

Be consistent in how you manage 

Predictability is not always a bad thing- especially not in project management. As a manager, you need to be consistent in your actions to ensure appropriate working conditions.  

Surprises can be great. However, when it comes to leading a team, you must act predictably and reasonably to build trust between you and your team. There's no room for favouritism or double standards- treat everybody, and yourself, in the same way.  

Don't micromanage 

Project management is all about trusting your people. You've hired a team of skilled professionals and there's no need to track their every step.  

By micromanaging every decision and action, you not only show a lack of trust in their experience and expertise but also interfere with their work and make them lose their focus. Let your people do what they’re paid to do and if needed, provide them with feedback.  

Set the example 

Your development team should treat you as an authority. That's why it's absolutely crucial to set the right example. If you want meetings to start on time, make sure you’re always there on time. If you want your developers to describe problems in precise detail, make sure you also follow this rule. 

Many managers expect more from their team than from themselves. By abiding by the rules, you are building trust and establishing the expected culture. 

Explain your decisions 

There's no way around it: as a manager, you will have to make decisions that your people may not agree with. Sometimes seeking their approval isn't the best course of action and you must get it all your own way. 

However, if you decide to put your foot down, you should be prepared to explain your decision. Nobody wants to work with a tyrant and absolute ruler, and by providing your explanation you make others aware of your reasoning and show your respect to their opinions. By justifying your decision, you help to preempt questions your team might have. 

Encourage open communication 

If you want your team to succeed in their projects, you need to communicate freely. By that, I mean ensuring widely available access to all the information and encouraging open communication.

Of course, there are some sensitive matters that need to be addressed in person, best during 1:1 meetings. However, for other information, I would suggest using public channels.  

A Key to Success 

By implementing the methods presented above into your management approach, you can improve your team's efficiency, productivity and performance, as well as your leading skills. Moreover, you’ll allow each professional to optimize their own performance and contribution to collective goals. 

Of course, while thoughtful management techniques can improve your team’s talents, you’ll need the technical skills crucial to complete any software development effort. That's why, the first step to effective management is compiling a team of trustworthy professionals.

Successfully manage your IT projects

Michał Kwilman
Front-end Technical Lead