How To Effectively Engineering Management Your Software Development Team As A Manager
When it comes to software development, software engineers’ tasks are usually revolving around getting some specific tasked that they get assigned to complete on time. However, as for software development project managers, the roles and responsibilities are not as clear. Management is not binary; there are no direct answers to certain questions and problems. Your success as a manager will depend on your ability to lead employees, product management, and technical administration.
This article will tell you how to effectively engineering management your software development team as a manager.
You need to be a people person!
In the role of engineering manager, your priority is your team. But how do you ensure that you have a good team? The answer lies in hiring the right people with the right skillset and establishing trust in the team!
Hiring the wrong team member not only a waste of their time but also a waste of your and other team members’ time, who will need to solve the problem after someone left. This will discourage other members. And when we say “wrong team member”, we don’t just mean their skills; they can be an excellent programmer but don’t fit in with the team’s culture.
During interviews, make sure that you not just only ask technical questions, but also open-ended questions about teamwork or other related-to-leadership roles type of question. For example, you can ask a candidate about how they solve a certain problem, how they come up with the solution, or what alternative methods they also consider, and what they will do to prevent similar problems to occur in the future.
When you have all team members onboard, dedicate some time to earn the respect of the team and build trust. In order to effectively lead a team, you need to build healthy workplace culture for your team members. It’s a good idea to know your member’s career goals, what’s important to them, and how you can help them to achieve those goals.
One-on-one meetings or even a water cooler conversation can be essential to set up a strong bond with all of your colleagues. Remember, don’t be a boss, be a leader!
If you manage a large team or have already worked really close with them, a meeting once a month is good enough to know everyone’s future goals .
How can engineering managers empower their team and improve the working quality?
A critical part of your job is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Help them address their weaknesses by pairing them with senior engineers and conduct regular code reviews while focusing on their strengths. Remember: compliment in public and give them feedback in private. Don’t embarrass your employee in front of their colleagues.
You can also assign tasks according to the abilities, strengths, and characteristics of each software engineer because, after all, we’re inspired to do what we love and are good at. Not to mention, by doing this you can "extract" the best out of each member. In this regard, automation can do a lot. Set up continuous integration to identify broken or suboptimal code and who uses it frequently.
Because software engineers will have to constantly improve their skills in order to grow in the areas of interest, the roles and responsibilities that made sense to them in the past may be no longer be relevant now. To make sure that all member feel challenged to grow and feel inspired, you can:
- Pay attention to their personal growth, invest in them and help them achieve their goals.
- Try to set aside extra time for personal development, allow them to switch roles to improve.
- Meet with each team member to plan their personal development and inspire them to develop their own career strategies.
- You can also hold internal seminars or training courses.
Moreover, engineering managers have the responsibility to protect their teams. You should encourage them to make decisions without worrying about failure. If things are not successful, learn to take responsibility and learn from the mistakes.
This will boost your software development team overall courage as they get to try new methods. In other words, if you provide appropriate feedback and act quickly to steer your development team in the right direction, mistakes will not happen more than one time.
Establishing a strong relationship with the product managers or product owners
Another important aspect of the engineering manager’s role is the product. Hence, you must build a strong relationship with product managers or product owners to adjust expectations and make the most out of your team’s skills to deliver great products.
There are three responsibilities you should take:
Make sure the project is well-planned
Set out your team’s goal for six to 12 months. Who are your customers? What do they expect from your product? How you can help to solve their problems? Your team may know what they have to do in a few week’s time, but it is important to understand the entire product and its current status.
Participate in product development decisions
As an engineering manager, during the software development process, you will work with different teams and departments and be more involved in product direction and updates than when you were a software engineer. You don’t have to agree to every decision about the product, but you must believe in it and constantly want to improve it. If you don’t agree with the product managers or owners, you can always challenge them; but keep in mind that the product manager is the one who makes the final decisions. So if you still don’t agree with them, respect them and support their idea.
Define the technology strategies and software development methods
The product manager’s job is to determine the product strategy and concept, yours is to define the product’s architectural vision and technical design. Plus, you also have to take care of defining the software development methodology and make sure that it is adopted by the software development team. The product manager may own the product, but it is the engineering manager and their team who owns the implementation of the product.
In some cases, useful features can be achieved with a small amount of effort. For example, check if upgrading to a newer version of the framework used by the product can help you deploy certain features faster or more efficiently.
Besides the technical and human resource aspect, in order to efficiently manage your team, you should also get yourself up to date with the latest technology trends and news. The more you know the more choices you have.