No matter what industry you’re working in, it’s always going to be a challenge to consistently maintain high levels of productivity. When it comes to software development teams, you’ll have to deal with bugs in the code and unforeseen problems (that can quickly derail your progress).
The good news is that increasing performance doesn’t necessarily mean hiring more people or increasing the number of working hours from 40 to 60 hours per week. Instead, you can boost overall team productivity by leveraging the latest tools and project management methodologies to achieve your goals.
So how do you go about improving the performance of your software development team? Let’s take a look.
Clearly Define Your Vision and Goals for the Project
Everyone on your development team has to be on the same page. This means that they should have a clear understanding of your vision and goals for the project.
When everyone isn’t striving for the same objective, your software development team can quickly start drifting and lack direction. As a result, the vision and goal of the project should be clearly communicated right from the beginning and on a regular basis to keep everyone on point.
One way to keep people focused on the task at hand is to keep everyone up to date on the team’s progress. At the same time, it’s also important to challenge your software engineers and encourage them to push beyond their own limitations to keep them interested.
Work in Sprints to Maximize Productivity
Working in sprints is a proven way to maintain human productivity. This is why you see it popping up often in project management methodologies such as Agile.
It’s a great approach to improving the performance of your development team as they will be working in a test driven environment that encourages them to write better code and reduce technical debt.
Working in sprints following the Agile approach also allows you to measure the team’s performance and make changes as necessary. The team’s performance can be measured with these four team-tracking metrics:
- Agile cycle time metric
- Escaped defect rate
- The health/happiness metric
Leverage Software Development and Project Management Tools
To be an efficient project manager or product leader, you have to keep your finger on the pulse to know exactly where you stand in the development cycle. Technology makes this complicated process a seamless experience, so why not take advantage of it?
When it comes to development and project management tools, some are simple while others are more sophisticated (like the tools that are integrated with code repositories). There are also some great integration tools that can automatically graph how the new code is evolving.
When this information is visually presented to everyone on a dashboard, team members can also easily follow each other’s progress and stay on track. Communication is also integrated into many of these tools, but planning and discussions can be separated into threads to keep the project moving forward.
There are loads of tools out there, but here are some of the ones we use to get the job done of time:
Learn How to Work Seamlessly with Software Engineers
If you’re coming from a non-technology background and you’ve been tasked with developing a technology product, you’ll also need to learn how to work with software engineers. This is because software development as a whole is a different kind of beast.
Here are some tips to help you get a better idea of what it’s like to work with a software development team:
- Silence doesn’t equal a lack of interest, rather, it means that they’re processing the information presented to them
- When you’re working with code, it either works or it doesn’t (and there’s no other way around it)
- Sometimes taking a break to play a game can help fix a huge problem within seconds
- Writing clean code isn’t easy and this keeps developers busy, so you have to pick the right time to engage them in a discussion
- Software engineers can be quite blunt, but it’s nothing personal!
Your approach to boosting the performance of your development team will be relative to the individuals and the project. It will also require you to achieve a fine balance.
This means that you should strive to reduce unnecessary tasks, avoid having excessive meetings and eliminate micromanagement. However, you have to provide real-time feedback (both good and bad).
At the same time, you have to find ways to keep your team motivated by providing opportunities to grow and work on something truly extraordinary.