How to Manage Software Development Team to Achieve Better Results
There are probably still those software creators who remember the necessity to physically attend meetings to "brainstorm" or report on a project's progress. However, the COVID pandemic and technological advances sped up the replacement of "old school" methods in software development management with more up-to-date tools. No matter if it goes about the app, some program, or board, the objective is the same: collaborate on a centralized platform to stay on top of every project.
The objective is especially vital in terms of software development outsourcing and offshoring. The global developer population is expected to reach 28.7 million people by 2024, an increase of 3.2 million from the number seen in 2020. The statistics show that the amazing 80% of the world's top 500 companies leverage offshore teams for their software requirements and daily operations.
No matter whether you carry out a project for one of the top 500 or any other company, the margin for error in software development should near zero. Otherwise, you risk not only your money but your business reputation. Implementing project management into the process of software development is the major key to minimizing errors, making everyone in the team sing the same song, and keeping the project on schedule.
So, we devote our article today to the importance of project management in software development. Let’s start from the basics.
What Does Managing a Software Development Team Mean?
The creation of leading-edge software is not easy. It requires a controlled environment of managed people, time, resources, and outlays to ensure on-time and on-budget delivery.
It’s vital to highlight the difference between basic project management and software development project management. The unique specifics of IT projects make the proper management of a software development team a critical thing.
Daily team supervision and control over the members’ involvement are the aspects that can proficiently help your team cope with the tasks on time and most efficiently.
If you are eager to set your development team up for success, you are in the right place. A development team comprises specialists in different fields. Designers, Developers of the Back and Front End, and QA professionals work on the project. A PM supervises the project's progress and facilitates communication between specialists and departments to achieve a common goal. Software development project management comprises planning, scheduling, and organization of the development process.
To lead a team of programmers, a PM should be a real professional and a responsible person familiar with the management strategies, approaches, and tools.
So, let’s proceed to the key strategies of project management in software development.
5 Workable Strategies for Managing a Software Developers’ Team
It goes without a doubt that every project manager should know how to motivate and inspire the team working on a particular project. Not less are important the skills of effective leadership and conflict resolution. These skills combined put effective project management in place and let the potential of every team member come to light and boost.
There are multiple strategies for team management. We’ve picked up the 5 most actual in our opinion for software development projects.
Setting clear targets
Any project comprises short-term and long-term goals essential for its successful completion. The mastery of a project manager to set clear goals for a day, a week, or a month determines the project's success. Make sure every team member understands the goals of the project and the specific timelines they should follow. Project goals, your goals as a manager, and teams’ goals should be linked and brought into line. Make sure the members of the team do not go in opposite or unclear directions. It will help you avoid failing on the deadline. Setting smaller goals is preferable. Eat the elephant one bite at a time, it will help your team cope with the tasks step by step and complete the project gradually.
Establishing effective communication
Software development project management communication strategies are cornerstones that allow the manager to nurture the team’s dynamics and keep the right balance when carrying the project out. Everyone working on the project should understand the roles, responsibilities, expectations, and metrics clearly, even if the work is temporally delegated. It can all be achieved through open communication. Regular team meetings for sharing information and updates should be supplemented by the other channels to discuss project nuances, share concerns, and talk the possible decisions over. It may be email communication, CRM system chats, or video conferences if it’s necessary. There are companies holding daily video check-ins. Though it may seem excessive, such a measure can be a great way to keep members of a remote team connected and engaged.
Keep in mind that a project manager should be in touch with all the members of a development team, regardless of the time zones. However, they should set up and keep to certain communication protocols that may include:
- Limiting messages in chats to the business hours common for all time zones,
- Setting an average response time for messages and e-mails,
- Setting regulations for replies to after-hours emails or texts,
- Making sure everyone’s time is respected.
Making processes transparent
When running a project, a PM cannot control data exchange in full. Yet, it’s vital to make sure that all team members have free and instant access to internal project data and ongoing processes.
Transparency allows to monitor progress and improve accountability on the project. It also helps to make the most of team members’ skill sets. Online collaboration tools such as Slack, Trello, Miro, and much more may help you achieve the necessary transparency, assign tasks, set virtual conversations, and involve everyone in discussions. More than that, tracking employee performance on the project can also be realized with the help of the tools mentioned above.
Encouraging brainstorming and group discussions
"The truth is born in a dispute" are the famous words by Socrates, proven by up-to-date statistics. It shows that brainstorming sessions and group discussions stimulate inventiveness, create unique approaches, and bring forward the best ideas and solutions. Nowadays, most companies adopt the Agile philosophy. The idea that the culture of respect plays a crucial role in creating unique, and competitive products of superior quality.
The project manager’s responsibility in this case is to consider all the ideas and solutions suggested by team members. They should encourage everyone's active participation in the discussions. By celebrating their successes and project progress, a PM can cultivate a positive and supportive culture so that the team responds with better productivity and efficiency.
Managing internal conflicts
Wherever people work together, there’s always room for conflict. Individuals come with their positive qualities and deficiencies. The key task of a project manager is to resolve tough situations and conflicts. However, it’s better to avoid the latters, without losing objectivity.
If the conflict occurs because of professional issues, it’s reasonable to remind the team about the common goal of the project. Even though the professional views of different people may be different project manager should find a solution to suit everyone. If the conflict is on some personal layer, a PM should be a psychologist to some extent to settle the problem as kindly as possible.
At Stfalcon we are proud to boast our family-like atmosphere and teamwork that allows us to be most efficient in our projects. To mention a few, let’s proceed.
Stfalcon developed a cutting-edge service solution for a Saudi start-up, Hump. It's concerned with the people who often travel by plane. We launched the solution in just a month.
The key purpose of the startup was to save time by handling all the baggage-related procedures:
- transfer from the traveler’s home to the airport,
- baggage storage,
- transfer back from the airport to the traveler’s home.
The next stage is to scale the project and add the possibility of tracking the baggage along the way. Automated status changing and couriers’ appointments are also considered.
The punch line of the project is not only the ability of the Stfalcon team to carry the project out effectively but maintain communication with foreign clients with different mindsets and culture.
In 2022 Stfalcon took the challenge to develop a web app to share user experience of disease treatments. Our team had to create a reliable web resource with clear UX, yet inspiring trust in patients. All methods of treatment that have already helped other people are added by the patients, having received prior approval from the platform admin. What’s more, the website now provides alternative treatment methods not acceptable to talk about.
Yet, they have proven to be effective, treatments having been ineffective are also mentioned. So, our team has created a functional user-friendly site with a clear UX, featuring an admin panel for user management and control.
What makes a successful software development team?
Many factors are important for a development team’s success, but effective communication is the key. On the one hand common goals, clear definition of roles and responsibilities as well as team culture should be communicated to each and every member. On the other hand, it’s vital to establish open and effective communication inside the team and with the stakeholders to achieve high-quality results and deliver real value.
Which software development process is most concerned with project management?
The planning stage may by right be considered the one most concerned with project management. At this stage the requirements and scope of work should be correctly evaluated, requirements and metrics accurately defined, and documentation with the outline of how to carry the project out from scratch issued. More than that, the project work should be distributed between the experts skilled and experienced in certain fields for smooth and productive project realization.
What are 3+ core principles for software development team management?
Managing a software development team requires talent, proficiency, and much effort on the part of the project manager. However, if asked to outline the 3 core principles for team management we’d mention the following:
Establish effective leadership
A PM should be a bit more than a manager and a strict boss, but a mentor and a coach to some extent. Accessible managers do not make their team sweep their mistakes under the rug. They'd rather mentor, educate, and guide their team towards their common best result.
Encourage discussions, brainstorming, and communication
As we have mentioned it and not once above, discussions are a critical aspect of any effective team. Everyone should know their input is welcome. Discuss issues together, brainstorm on the issues that set in, look for solutions cooperatively, formulate strategies, and work out policies acceptable for every member. Keeping the whole team on the same page is especially important when experts don’t share the same space physically as most of the teams do now.
Motivate and encourage learning
Great performance grows from good motivation and constant development. Everyone has the innate need to be appreciated. Unfortunately, bosses often forget about it and little praise their staff. Your team should realize, they’ve done a good job. And for doing a good job, especially in IT, one should learn continuously. Let your team have some time in their schedule devoted to learning and professional development.
The importance of project management in software development should never be underestimated. It’s not just about avoiding overdue, or over-budget software projects, but about cutting-edge software solutions, high-quality project results, and real value to users and clients. What’s more, software creation comes with multifaceted risks and challenges. So a Project Manager should overcome all these complexities and create an environment for transparent communication inside and outside the team.
As a company with almost 15 years of successful project realization for clients from different parts of the world, Stfalcon is ready to offer our customers development teams that know how to sing in harmony, creating your best product. Our PMs are experienced orchestrators for dedicated and mixed teams. Сontact us to discuss your variant of our cooperation and let’s start creating your best solution.