Managing a Software Development Team - Best Practices

Managing Software Developers

Managing a team of software developers may on the surface be one of the easier managerial roles you may come across. App developers are typically quiet, educated types who aren’t likely to slap you around the face for speaking out of turn. They tend to work long hours, in silence for large parts of the day, and often work on late into the night whilst in the midst of solving complex technical puzzles, which dissuade them from leaving the office early. Software development to a good developer is more than just a job, it is a passion. To them the code they are working with is an adult substitute for a toy such as Lego. This passion for the job is an essential success factor in project delivery. Many dedicated software developers do not differentiate their job and their hobby, and these are the engineers who typically deliver outstanding results time and time again.

Many conventional managers who have little to no experience of a software, or app development practice struggle to understand developers and what makes them tick, and all too often make fundamental mistakes in their approach to line management.

The most common mistake that is applied is the enforcement of very strict working hours, with hard rules around start and end times. While fixed shifts are typically very important in operational roles, the best app developers in Singapore, as elsewhere don’t respond well to this as such fixed times are often in conflict with deadlines and tasks. Other frequent managerial mistakes hinge around applying heavy HR or operational processes requiring a lot of paperwork and lost time. Nothing frustrates a senior developer more than losing core app development time with menial tasks. Operational processes are certainly necessary in many cases, but it is important to not overburden engineers and overcomplicate these. We should remember also that developers are smart, and nothing rubs a smart person up the wrong way like fluff and corporate waffle. Whilst managers maybe able to pull the wool over their workforce in some sectors, developers can typically see this a mile off, and corporate fluff is typically greeted with a contempful silence. Experienced app developers respect transparency, technical leadership and demonstrable expertise from managers. And deliver their best work when they are afforded flexibility, responsibility and trust. At Red Sky we provide the right management framework for our people to thrive.

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