How do you develop technology team

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A colleague has asked an interesting question and I’d like some help answering.

The question:

I am working with one of our development teams on their needs/development plans and I wanted to bring external best practices in this area.Do you have any examples (or theory /articles) on how to develop effectively developers / technology teams?

Any ideas, or examples of organisations who are using new and innovative approaches to this task

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4 thoughts on “How do you develop technology team

  1. Hi Carl,

    I think that the question is too broad to answer concisely (which is perhaps why you’ve not had any responses so far), but I thought I’d try and tackle it at a high level. If you think there’s more I can contribute, then please let me know.

    First, the development practice.
    There are any number of software development methodologies, and a larger number of advocates for each. They all have their merits and problems, and finding the right one for the team(s) is a major hurdle that needs to be addressed. A great source of information on the different types of development methodologies can be found on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_development_methodologies and it’s off-shoots). I’m not going to advocate a particular methodology, as that depends on many factors relating to the team, the business and the processes already in place.
    If you have a number of teams then you may want to experiment with a new methodology for just one team, but I would recommend that you aim to have all teams using the same methodology, if only for ease of management and knowledge exchange between the teams.

    Next, the more fundamental practices.
    A team is not a team unless it’s working together as one. This means that there has to be good communication between the members. Communication within the team also paves the way for better and more efficient code and a more cohesive (software) design as the members work together, rather than autonomously, on the same project.
    Build interest and enthusiasm within the team for the project. This is best managed by giving the team a certain amount of say in the scheduling of the development and the architecture and tools used. The team is not simply a resource, it is a valuable store of expertise and experience that you need to utilise.
    Don’t expect too much; have realistic timescales. Assume 5 hours of productive time per developer per day.
    Communicate with the team. They need to understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’ – the bigger picture about what they are being asked to develop.
    Support the team. This may be particular tools or apparatuses or more soft skills. Take advice from the team as to the framework they can best work within and then provide the supporting tools to both enable them to do their jobs and also to support them doing their jobs. If the tools or process get in the way of writing software, you will not have a team at their most efficient or happiest.

    I could go on but, as I say, not sure at what level the question is being directed. I think I’ve covered my ‘bete noirs’ of Software Development Management – links to various resources can be provided, too, if you want more specifics.

    Regards,
    Ady

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