Software development is a tricky process and there needs to be someone at the top to make sure everything is progressing along as it should. Unfortunately, there is no tried and tested formula for managing a software project; it comes down to individual skills, temperaments, budgets, and so on. If you’re in charge then it’ll take time for you to develop your style, but in the meantime here are a few golden rules to get your started.
Build the Right Team
The first thing you need to do is build the right team. Not all software developers are equally skilled in all facets of development, so pick a team whose skills are best suited to the project you’re running. You’ll also need to determine what type of team you want; some have developers and testers sectioned off from one another, but this can sometimes cause tension and some managers prefer to have the whole team integrated and working toward the common goal together.
Let Them Do Their Thing
Software developers know how to do one thing very well: develop software. Everything else is distracting, and as such you need to allow them to get on with their jobs. Managers usually interrupt them in one of two ways: they either peer over their shoulder (metaphorically of course) as they work and monitor too closely, or they bog down the developers with meetings, emails, phone calls that have nothing to do with software development. Give them the space they need to work.
The Tools to Succeed
In your role as manager, you need to be doing everything you can to ensure that your team has the tools they need to work to the best of their ability. This can be climate based, such as relaxed workspaces and flexible hours, and also about the tools with which they work. They’ll need the software for test management for test case work for them to work efficiently, especially if the team is dispersed and/or working different hours, for instance. You can have the best developers in the land, but if they’re not equipped to do their job well then it’ll be for nothing.
Pulling the Strings, Quietly
There’s a lot more than goes into software development than just the actual software. You have a budget. You have a timescale for delivery. It’s your job to keep on top of these factors without it interrupting the flow of your team’s work. If you do your job behind the scenes properly, then they’ll be able to theirs properly too.
Knowing When To Crank The Pressure
There’ll be a time when you need to raise the pressure and get people working harder and faster, but this shouldn’t come at a random time. You should know when to turn the screws and when to back off. In the early days, things should be relaxed as ideas are floated around, then as you get nearer to project completion, you’ll need to come down harder on your workers. It’s for the benefit of them and the project!
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