It’s easy to code a program, but difficult to create a work culture within a software development team. You will not be able to see the culture in your eyes. But you will most certainly be able to feel it in every department in an organization. Culture is a set of values, principles, norms that are accepted by an organization. It is felt and practiced by team members within a software development team.
How to build this culture is not a decision-making process. You can’t discussed this during meetings, or passed among employees by way of internal email communication. It is sensed by superiors as a guideline for employee behavior, motivation, and enterprise.
So, how to build a nice culture among your software development team? Here are some useful tips that will enlighten team leaders or organizations in building the best cultural practices:
Identify what is keeping your team in being productive
What is it that prevents a team from being productive? Being fully aware of the skills of the members of your software teams is not a small thing. But when you see some employee waiting for his workstation, and you think that it is a ‘normal’ thing in your work culture, then you may have to reconsider your perspective. Because delays and waiting periods can dampen the motivation of your team members.
These are some things that you have to look out for if you want to build a great culture in your Software Development Team. Act on the complaint that flashed on your computer screen. Meet your developers to suggest ways to make the workflow as fluid as possible.
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Listen and empower others
Before you take any decision about software processes or installing a new network in your company, you should first listen to the views of those that are going to use it every day. Thus, by just involving top management executives, you must really seek the opinions of developers and executives who will ultimately get involved with it.
The software development team will have its own ideas or may have its own unique perspective on a particular problem, which you may have missed out completely. Getting to know about it beforehand, will eventually prove to be so much beneficial in the long run. It may remove blockages and shortcomings later.
Share the credit, take the blame
The one thing that helps develop a culture among your software development team is appreciation. So, it means that you do not grab the entire spotlight, but allow others to have their say.
It may mean, praising other’s work, rather than boasting about your own achievements. Or, you may recommend a certain employee for a raise, if he is found to be hardworking, or has contributed to the growth of the team. Doing so means that you value people for what they are worth. This is a statement to others as well, as they too can sense the feeling of inclusion.
Select the right people
It is so important to select candidates who view values in the same light as yours. When it comes to selecting the right candidates for your software development company, you may have to fine-tune your selection process to include not just face-to-face interviews, but personality tests or screening tests, which let you arrive at the most suitable ones for your company.
The attitude of the employee is also a thing to watch out for. If you hire employees with a negative outlook, may be a threat to others as well. They will influence other’s behavior and actions.
Value levels of experience
In a typical software development company, there are several employees. Everyone who bring their own unique experience with them, and so are valuable. Some employee may be knowledgeable in coding, other in debugging, or still, others may have experience in communication. Understanding the potential of every employee is key to making them work to their optimum levels. And this, in turn, is progress for the entire software development team.
It is therefore important for team leaders to get to know the skill set of every team member. He or she should set aside some time to share their skills and experience. Meetings should be held, or informal talks may lead team leaders to assess the skills of employees. If the employee expresses their eagerness to expand upon their knowledge, then they should be given freedom.
Create a learning space
The key to software development is constant learning, and this culture of learning and developing should be imbibed in every software development team. Every team leader should see to it that learning never stops, and there is freedom for expression.
Learning is the basis of every software development company, and there should be an open environment where every team member can ask questions, evaluate problems, suggest possibilities, and implement their ideas. After all, coding and setting algorithms is a creative process, where the software development team finds out all possible outcomes, solutions, and results.
Never discourage employees in offering a solution
When employees trust their immediate superiors and have full faith that they shall value their work or solution, then it creates a culture of mutual understanding within that organization. It applies to the software development team as well.
When software developers are working on a project, and some team member can see through a problem and offers a solution, which may, at first, sound absurd, even then, they should be heard and team leaders should consider their solutions. It may just prove beneficial to the software company shortly or may help decrease unnecessary expenses or help in solving a problem.
Team leaders should allow the human side of software developers to shine through, as human personality is such a thing that can never be taken away.
Onboarding team members
Onboarding is a relatively new term but is so typical in a software development cycle. Often new software developers are needed to fill a skill gap and these demands software team augmentation. Team leaders should adopt certain practices, such as creating a suitable software development environment within the team, where new recruits are absorbed, and their roles are clearly defined.
Job training, team introduction, benefits, should be clearly implied to new employees. It is so very necessary to do so, as it will fill the skill gap within that team, and the project work is not hampered in any way. This type of software team augmentation infuses fresh talent to the team, and new skills are added.
Make sure that team members are accountable for what they are meant to do. This culture of accountability upholds the values of responsibility and empowers the software developers to perform at their full potential. There are many organizations, whose software development team members create a sense of accountability among their team members.
After all, the team creating software has to make software for the end-users. So, they should be accountable to them, and so to others like team members, third parties, other departments within that organization, etc. Effective strategies should be in place and metrics should be implemented.
Every software development team member should have a clear understanding of his role and defined scope of work. Uncertainty in understanding roles and responsibilities are factors that make software development seem complex. It is a big obstacle in the progress of the software development team.
Create communication and collaboration
Communication should be clear and precise. It should be effective so that developers are clearly able to realize their roles. Communication should be able to flow freely within a team, and also among other teams, to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge.
For example, it should be clear as to which employees should do which task, who should allocate their tasks to whom, which team members are in which team, etc. It is important to have constant feedback from team members, and status of the workflow, and the stages of work that they have completed.
Video meetings face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings can be held from time to time. Also, agendas for the next day should be prepared in advance.
Employees who can blend in with the team are a company’s greatest asset; and it applies to software development companies also. An employee may be brilliant. But, when he is not able to work in a team, he will not be able to contribute and bring value to the company. Employees who put the team first prove to be more effective in implementation, and fit the role better.
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Organizations today, are evolving ever more rapidly, and dynamically. As they transform into multinational companies, its software development team is at the core, as it develops software, and makes a brand presence in the global market. The culture that is prevalent in the software development team reflects on its team members. It aids in increased productivity of each developer, and also enables them to contribute to the performance of that organization.
The above steps will most certainly be of help in developing a culture within the software development team.
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