What is Your Business Doing to Create a Strong Development Team?
It takes an average of 43 days to hire a software developer. The costs due to lost productivity could be as much as $33,000. These are significant numbers and could wreak havoc on a company’s digital transformation efforts.
When employees leave, initiatives stall. Developing a strong development team is critical to keeping employees happy and reducing attrition rates. This guide presents the benefits of creating a strong development team and offers tips on how to do so.
Create a Strong Development Team Through Healthy Communication
Effective communication is foundational to a team's success. Without it, conflict, low morale, and disengagement ensue. Inspiring effective communication eliminates these issues and can help:
Foster Collaboration – Effective communication isn’t about proving who is right or wrong. It’s about making sure everyone is heard and that each opinion counts. When teams are comfortable communicating openly with each other, the sense of trust encourages teamwork.
Mitigate Conflict – With so many different personalities and communication styles, there are bound to be misunderstandings. Helping employees develop healthy communication skills can mitigate the conflict that often arises due to these misunderstandings.
Encourage Innovation – When employees don’t feel heard or valued, they are likely to contribute less. Fostering an environment of open, honest, and constructive communication, team members will feel comfortable sharing ideas.
Improve Productivity – Poor communication hinders efficiency. Without clear instructions, mistakes can happen. When employees are forced to correct issues, it takes away from other important work. On the other hand, clear instructions ensure understanding. With clarity, team members can prioritize their workflow.
How to Foster Healthy Communication in a Software Development Team
Listen – Communication is about much more than just talking. What many people don’t realize is that listening is half of the communication process. Encourage employees to be active listeners with a focus on hearing and understanding, rather than focusing on how to respond.
As Cisco managing director Alex Goryachev points out: “People listen mostly to respond rather than to understand. However, digitization demands active listening to the ecosystem to survive and develop collaborative strategies with startups, partners, and customers around the world.”
Meetings – Meetings are often considered a big yawn, especially among tech teams who want to focus on their work. However, rather than always relying on a mass email to communicate important topics, consider scheduling a meeting. That way, the information can be communicated clearly, and the team has a chance to ask questions.
Consider the Needs of Remote Workers – The rise of remote work is making it even more challenging for teams to engage in effective communication. Remote workers don’t get the benefit of the impromptu “huddle” for collaboration. As a result, they are more likely to feel out of touch. Make an extra effort to ensure remote workers are included in all communication with the team.
Create Development Team Structure With Clearly Defined Team Goals
Without goals, teams tend to have what is known as present focus bias. Instead of focusing on future goals, employees get trapped in focusing on the menial day-to-day functions. Tasks that likely have little to do with corporate objectives. Setting team goals inspires employees to perform at their best.
Benefits of Team Goals
Helps Focus on Priorities – Goals give the team context into how their work ties into corporate objectives. When there are concrete goals in place, daily work becomes intentional. Employees will make decisions on working on tasks that lead to a common purpose.
Not only that, goals can help create clarity when faced with tough project decisions. Having a target helps the team be creative in uncovering ideas to get “unstuck” and find ways to move forward.
Helps Measure Success – No one is going to be motivated to work towards something when they have no idea whether they have succeeded or failed. Concrete goals help teams measure progress. Measuring and evaluating outcomes helps teams determine what worked and what didn’t. That way they can continually find ways to improve.
Drives Employee Engagement – According to the Harvard Business Review, “The foundation of every great team is a direction that energizes, orients, and engages its members.” Clear goals give everyone a purpose that ultimately drives engagement in their work.
Fosters Collaboration and Teamwork – Team goals help everyone understand how their work aligns with others. As a result, they are more likely to support each other in achieving objectives rather than competing against each other.
Tips for Successful Team Goal Setting
Ensure Team Goals Align With Company Goals – Teams must align their goals with the organization’s business strategy. The development team needs to understand how their actions help the company reach long-term goals. When employees don’t understand how their goals align with the organizational roadmap, they become a hindrance rather than an asset. Once there is a clear understanding of the bigger picture, they will be motivated to work towards making the vision a reality.
Let the Team Drive The Process – Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Teams are likely to be demotivated if they have no say in the process. Engaging employees in the process instills a sense of ownership which builds strong development teams and helps employees remain committed to what it takes to achieve the desired outcome.
Remain Flexible – In today’s competitive landscape, change is inevitable. As such, the team may not reach some of its goals. Teams need to understand that it is okay to miss goals that are no longer viable. What’s important is that the team knows that even though they may have missed the mark, the work accomplished up to that point is still valuable.
Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities is Critical to The Success of a Software Development Team
The fast-paced nature of a development environment can quickly turn into chaos if everyone doesn’t understand their role. When employees don’t understand their role and their value to the company, they will be less likely to give their best.
Benefits of Clearly Defined Roles for Software Team Development
“Do your best” goals don’t motivate or inspire action. Instead, it leaves everyone confused about what to do and how their actions fit within the team and the company. Mapping roles and responsibilities have several benefits which include:
Improves the Hiring Process – Clearly defined roles give recruiters a specific skill set to focus on rather than wading through a sea of unqualified candidates. Also, clarity on roles gives candidates a more accurate understanding of the job.
Avoids Wasting Time and Money – When responsibilities are clearly defined, organizations spend less time and money on redundant output.
Fosters Clarity – Clarity on roles helps everyone know what is expected of them. They know how their role fits within the team and how their role ties into a company’s overall objectives.
Get More Done – When resources are already spread thin, it’s easy for small tasks to be overlooked. This is especially true if there is no clarity on who is responsible for what. The less-desirable tasks sit untouched because no one wants to claim them. When everyone understands their role, there is less chance of something falling through the cracks.
Better Cooperation – Uncertainty about roles results in conflict and competition when high-profile tasks are assigned. Managers should ensure tasks are assigned based on a person’s expertise.
Tips for Setting Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses – Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. Gaining insight can help you decide how to assign tasks. Assign each individual in areas where they are strongest. However, everyone deserves the chance to grow and advance in their career. Be sure to also assign work that can challenge employees and help them grow in areas that need development.
Focus on Company Objectives – Company objectives should ultimately drive decisions for defining roles. Consider what skills will be needed to accomplish those objectives. Make a list of all tasks that are required. This will give you clarity on how to define roles and how best to assign them.
Build a Strong Organizational Culture for Your Development Team
A company’s culture consists of the shared beliefs and values defined by leaders and communicated throughout the organization. Culture shapes employee perception and understanding of the organization’s values which ultimately shapes what is acceptable behavior within the company.
Why Company Culture is Critical for Development Team Success
Build Brand Ambassadors – A strong culture is one of the best ways to turn employees into advocates. When employees feel they are valued, work becomes more than a paycheck. It becomes something that is meaningful and has a purpose. As a result, they will be inspired to share their experience with others.
Retain Top Talent – Rather than money, company culture is what most job applicants are after. A strong corporate culture is a key to attracting the best employees for the team.
One Team – A successful culture brings everyone together and keeps them aligned towards a common purpose. A positive culture helps companies thrive even with different perspectives.
Supports Employee Well-Being – Employees want to work somewhere where their values are consistent with those of their employer. It helps support team morale and makes the job more rewarding.
A Strong Development Team Matters
Healthy communication and clearly defined roles backed by a positive corporate culture are key to employee motivation. When these things align, team collaboration flourishes and everyone is inspired to give their best. Ultimately, the company benefits through increased productivity and innovation that helps meet corporate objectives.
Growin gives you access to the technical expertise you need to drive your company’s digital initiatives. From creating developing teams to recruitment and career management to project development and delivery, our IT Consultancy team has a deep understanding of the stakes and technical challenges to deliver your projects faster, on time, and on budget.
Want to grow your business and software development team? Reach out today and see why so many of our clients chose us as their software development partner.