How to Empower Your Software Team to Do Great Things

The positive energy of teamwork is a powerful force in business. This is especially true of teamwork within software teams who are responsible for developing innovative solutions. Empowering these teams can bring greater success in creating strategies and products that solve problems for your business.

Ideal software team

What makes a team so effective? It may be their ability to look at issues from many different vantage points that drives the best results. Unlike employees working solo, teams bring together a variety of different backgrounds, experiences, talent, viewpoints, and ideas. This wealth of diversity ensures great outcomes for software teams.

So, your ideal software team is comprised of diverse individuals with varied skills and personalities. These technical teams are critical to the creation of software, particularly custom software. Made up of engineers, designers, and developers, these teams are your first offense when innovation and automation are called into play.

But they are also key to solving short term and long-term business problems. Technology and those who answer the call of software needs can make things happen in today’s competitive business world. They develop solutions to increase productivity, revenue, efficiency, and so much more. But how can you be sure they are on the right track?

How to relay your concept to the software team

If you have an in-house software team, you know how important time and effort is to every project. Because time is money, it’s important to convey a project’s objectives with clarity. Although it is expected to have at least a few iterations before getting it right, the project needs to start in the right direction. Otherwise, your process may experience having to start all over again and extending time unnecessarily.

But what if you’re not a techie? Do you need to know coding to get your point across? You really don’t need to know software shop talk to discuss a project with your team. As a business leader, it’s more important to clearly define what the product is supposed to do and why. Connecting with them is crucial to achieve your desired project results.

Communicating with your technical team should not be any different than dealing with your other teams. Handle this communication in the same manner as you would with others in your company. Follow the best ways to communicate as a leader to keep the team motivated to move in the right direction. Be sure to ask the right questions and encourage feedback. You’ll learn a lot from the answers you get.

Move your software team in the right direction

Before any time is spent on the project, establish its purpose. For example, if your project involves creating a mobile app to complement your online store, what are you expecting to achieve? Will this app make it easier for customers to buy from you? What value are you hoping to provide and how do you expect to generate revenue from it?

Focusing on what really matters in the end will help your team establish the best route to get there. They may look at staying consistent with some of the most popular mobile apps for businesses like yours. Or, if the apps out there are not ideal to your business needs, you may decide to build from scratch. In any event, the idea is to send a clear message of your project’s intentions and purpose. The clearer the message, the more likely the team will come up with the right solutions to meet your objectives. If they understand your goals, they will be better prepared to develop optimal results.

Getting the team onboard with your goals

Now that you’ve communicated what your software development project entails, how do you get your team onboard? Without their support and commitment to its success, your chances for an exceptional product will diminish. But is it possible to infuse them with the same passion that you have for the project?

At this point, it’s assumed that your team is well versed on your company’s vision and values. Where do you see the company in five, ten, twenty years from now? How will it change or grow? What are the company’s key values that drive its success? If your team is unsure about the answers, this should be your starting point. They should be connected to your company’s mission and understand how they play a role in that goal.

Once that’s taken care of, link your project to your company’s vision. This will ensure that the team has a grasp on the guidelines associated with it. It’s also important for them to comprehend how it fits into the overall scheme of things.

Support your team

The support you give to your team is a big deal. It expresses how important you feel their work is to your business objectives. Learn what steps you can take to motivate them to do the best possible job. This goes beyond competitive wages and benefits.

For example, if your project is enormous in scope, you may need to break it down into smaller parts to make it more doable. Take into consideration the other projects the team is working on. You’ll want to give your team every chance for success so make expectations realistic.

Encourage brainstorming and be sure to listen to their feedback during the design process. Allow ample time for developing a prototype and user testing. You will likely need to go back to the drawing board a few times before getting it right.

Finally, provide the team with the right tools and a supportive environment. You can’t realistically expect high quality work if you provide them with less-than-adequate tools. Make sure you learn what their needs are and how you can reasonably accommodate them.

Product manager (do you need one?)

Will your team need the help of a product manager (PM)? Unless you plan on leading the product team yourself, you should hire a product manager. This is especially true if your project is complex and you’re inexperienced in this area. Otherwise, your team may find itself getting behind in projects and not sure which ones to prioritize. Or, worse yet, maybe the team is not realizing the vision behind the build. A good product manager will help keep the project in focus, organized, and going in the right direction.

Finding the right person to be a project manager can be challenging. Your relationship with this person will be the key to many successful project outcomes. That said, look first at your current team for someone who might fit the bill. Chances are someone has shown leadership qualities on the team. Maybe during tough times, they stepped up to the plate to help you with a win. On the other hand, just because someone is an awesome designer or engineer doesn’t mean they will be a successful PM.

If you decide to hire a PM, whether internally or externally, look for positive leadership abilities. Be sure they’re aligned to your vision and objectives. Make sure they are a good communicator, and more importantly, that they are a problem solver.

Product manager responsibilities

Once you’ve decided that you need a PM, establish their role and responsibilities. Their role is a critical one in the product build and needs your support. So, what should they be doing? Your PM should oversee the build process and successfully manage a cross-functional team. It is primarily an organizational role that sets the strategy with a road map for how to get there. A good PM will communicate the goals and objectives for product expectations from beginning to end.

As a decision maker, the PM will need to convey why their decisions are the best options. Your PM should skillfully prioritize the team’s goals and balance the needs of the team and the customer. Ideally, they should be in tune with the short and long-term vision for each build.

If you hire someone externally, ask for referrals from people you trust. You might want to post a job opening on job boards who cater to technology hires. Just make sure you define the job description accurately to be sure you find the best fit. Check out other job postings for one that matches the role and responsibilities you feel are appropriate.

Feel the power of teamwork

The power of software teams cannot be overstated. They can help you move mountains by developing innovations that can disrupt an industry. Empower your team to do great things and they won’t disappoint.

At Bitbean, we understand the incredible force of teamwork. Contact us for help with your software project.

Posted by Ephraim Arnstein