4 Ways to Boost Your Software Team’s Productivity
Tech talent is something that most companies can’t afford to waste. Software development specialists are often well-trained, expensive, and in demand. That means it’s important for businesses to maximize the output of their software teams.
While team managers won’t necessarily find that objective a cakewalk, it’s not impossible, either. From setting measurable goals to adopting output-enhancing work methods, here are four ways to help boost your software team’s productivity.
1. Set Clear Goals
Any team is likely to lose the plot over time if they’re working without clear goals in mind. Goals help unify teams by giving them something to work toward together. But many goals, such as releasing the next major hit on the app store, are too wide-ranging and distant. Goals like this may be galvanizing at first but can become enervating when team members realize how far away they truly are.
While it’s good to keep a large-scale, overarching aim in mind, team productivity requires giving your developers smaller, clear, actionable goals to meet. Such goals should be entirely within their control. An example could be writing X lines of code weekly, sending out X beta-key invitations, or eliminating X bugs in the system. These shorter-range goals move the team toward the larger objective while allowing your team to feel they’re accomplishing something every week. And if these more limited goals aren’t met, then that helps you identify target areas to improve.
2. Use a Robust Project Manager Tool
Having set both large-scale, overarching goals and clear, actionable ones for your team, you’ll want to track their progress. Spreadsheets and paper-based Gantt charts will no longer cut it. The former require manual updates to be kept current, and the latter — even if a handy visual aid — are unsuited to digital workflows. To maximize your software team’s productivity, adopt a full-featured product manager tool instead.
Such tools allow you to assign project tasks and automate task handoffs. Everyone on the team can easily see who is working on what, when deliverables are due, and when their input is required. They’ll also know who needs a work product next when they’re done with it, so they’ll waste no time in the handoff process. As a manager, you can keep tabs on larger goals and the subtasks within them in real time. That way, you’ll be able to identify problems as they arise and quickly generate solutions to prevent any hits to your team’s productivity.
3. Adopt Other Capabilities-Enhancing Software
A product manager tool is a vital productivity aid for software development teams, but it’s hardly the only one. If any group of humans is going to be receptive to using tech tools to address their workplace challenges, a software team is it. Lean into this tendency and deploy any software that will speed task completion, improve collaboration, provide needed data, or facilitate user interactions. Many software teams devote their work lives to helping other people “work smarter, not harder,” and they deserve the same assistance.
For starters, there’s nothing less productive than working on the wrong things. A product analytics tool can reveal what customers want so development teams focus on building the right features. Instant messaging platforms can help developers get quick answers to the questions that would otherwise become roadblocks. File-sharing platforms provide universal access to needed documents and enforce version control so everyone stays on the same page. By choosing the right tools from the almost unlimited number of options, you’ll skyrocket your team’s productivity.
4. Embrace Remote Work
Since COVID became the sensation sweeping the nation(s), more companies have had to embrace remote work by necessity. Many tech companies allowed remote work before that, but it’s become mainstream since. That’s a good thing, as many software professionals find this way of working enhances their productivity. There are fewer of the distractions found in office environments, meaning there’s less to get them out of the zone once they’re in it. Workflow software and the occasional vidoeconference allow developers to stay in sync with the rest of the team but work uninterrupted otherwise.
If your team members have been asking to make remote work permanent, it’s in your best interests to do so. Fully 87% of American workers who are offered remote work arrangements jump at the chance, so the demand is clearly there. Remote work entails less time spent commuting, leaving team members less stressed and, possibly, better rested — both known productivity enhancers. So consult with your team and see whether remote work is something they want. Creating a work environment where team members feel heard will lead to long-term trust and increased productivity.
Always Be Growing
Boosting your team’s productivity isn’t about implementing one trick or tactic. It’s about using the right methodologies, tools, and work arrangements to foster collaboration, remove obstacles, eliminate distractions, and facilitate task completion. In short, it’s about creating the kind of environment that allows talented people to do their best work and grow over time.
It may be tempting to use short-term tactics like monetary incentives or schedule pressure to increase productivity. But short-term boosts, like a cup of strong coffee, are sure to give out eventually. Managing a productive team is more akin to adopting healthy habits, like good sleep. One night won’t make a massive difference, but keep it up for a few weeks, and you’ll feel unstoppable.