Top 8 Tips to Efficiently Manage Your Mobile Software Development Team

September 14, 2020

A team manager discussing to her team members.
A team manager meeting with all members of development team

Not everyone is born a leader. However, if you have the passion, dedication, and right attitude, you can become an efficient leader. You can successfully manage any team, be it a group of businessmen or a mobile software development team.

Managing a development team requires a lot of commitment and hard work, especially if you’re leading a software development group composed of full-stack, back-end, & front-end developers.

However, if you possess the right management skills, collaboration and productivity from diverse people will be easy.

Whether you’ve been managing a mobile software development team for years or are new to the scene, there are some things you need to do to ensure results-driven teamwork.

Software development team roles and responsibilities

Developers value their independence, especially when working on an idea

Tips for Managing a Mobile Software Development Team

Team structure is important in software development

1. Respect Your Team Members’ Individuality                                                    

Sure, practically everyone in the team is a developer, but this does not mean they have the same skill set, work attitude, process, and talent. For example, you may have team members whose main driving force is to see the final product, but you may also have developers who want a venue for creating their design and unleashing their creativity.

Respect their differences and acknowledge their value to the team throughout the development process.

Respecting your team members’ individuality also means appreciating their skills. For example, some of them may excel in coding, while others are highly skilled in front-end tasks.

Learn to value each of their skills.

If you want a positive and productive work environment, you should keep your individuality while working with the project team. But, of course, it is also essential to make everyone understand the team’s objectives and emphasize that fulfilling these should be the group’s common goal.

It will also help determine a way to integrate their individual preferences into the task at hand.

2. Effective Communication is Essential

Developers value their independence, especially when working on an idea. As such, you need to establish effective communication protocols with all stakeholders.

This involves more than just asking for updates or saying good morning/good afternoon to everyone. Proper communication means going through all the processes and channels that ensure your connection with everyone in the team is strong, regardless of the team size.

How Is This Done?

  1. Involve the entire mobile software development team in the product development process, from brainstorming to development and product launching.
  2. Establish a regular communication process. For example, consider scheduling weekly, semi-weekly, or monthly video conferences if you all work remotely in different locations. This is a suitable venue for sharing thoughts, exchanging ideas, and keeping everyone up to date with the business goals. You can also choose to schedule a monthly face-to-face meeting (if possible). Regularly chatting or communicating with each other will help ensure that your connection remains strong. Don’t forget to ask for suggestions from all development team members. You have to make sure that the communication tool or app you will be using is convenient for everyone.
  3. Instead of using video conferencing apps such as Zoom or Google Meet, you can use project management software such as Slack, Teamwork, or Asana. These tools will allow you to communicate with all members of your team and manage the team’s day-to-day performance. Likewise, these tools make collaboration more manageable and help people understand their roles and responsibilities better.
Project management and the agile process

3. Know How and When To Delegate

One of the most common mistakes of team leaders is micromanaging.

In most cases, this will lead to project deficiency. Have faith in your team. Trust that each member is capable of completing the assigned tasks.

Acting like a know-it-all will only alienate you from the rest of the team.

This is also what it means to acknowledge a team member’s abilities. Learn to delegate tasks to members of your mobile software development team. Have faith in their skills.

Challenge them to unleash their potential by giving important assignments and making them responsible for their work quality.

Doing so will help increase your team’s confidence and productivity.

4. Provide The Right Equipment and Tools

Imagine working on a project, and the tools provided for you are substandard. How will you perform efficiently if your computer is too slow or if it constantly freezes and restarts?

Picture documenting your codes on Notepad because your computer is outdated. Would you want your team to experience the same situation?

The ideal mobile software development team manager knows the value of the right equipment and tools. Find a way to secure the devices your team and your business needs so that they can deliver.

Managers must take the responsibility to ensure that their team is furnished with all the equipment necessary for a seamless work process and that allows developers to focus.

Teams tell us that the front end developer is responsible to lead projects

5. Encourage Autonomy

Encouraging team members to become self-directing and finding the best way to complete their tasks will help improve employee engagement.

Letting your team know that you trust each one of them will increase their self-worth and confidence. Therefore, they’ll be more motivated, dedicated, and engaged in performing their tasks.

Teamwork is essential, but it is also necessary to give members of your team space to create.

This way, each team member will feel in control, moving in the right direction, and capable of delivering the expected results.

Of course, as the team leader, you can be by their side, guide them through the different stages, and share your knowledge. Be sure, though, that you don’t hover over them, constantly peering over their backs. Instead, let them do what they are good at.

6. Be a Good Coach

If you are a good leader, you know that putting your team members to shame will never do anyone any good.

Instead of scolding your mobile software development crew whenever someone makes a mistake or when an issue occurs, encourage them never to give up. Instead, lift their spirits and allow them to try and try until they get the needed results.

Good leaders do not destroy their team members. On the contrary, good leaders encourage and uplift their teams even during the most challenging situations.

Success on projects helps the user get in touch with the product

7. Build a Relationship With Your Team Members

Your relationship with your mobile software development team members should not be limited to the office. Building a relationship means connecting with the development teams outside of the work environment.

Schedule weekend hangouts with your team once in a while; eat at a fancy restaurant, go on a hiking adventure, or watch a movie.

Every time you wrap up a project, treat your team to some drinks. Creating these casual environments will help make your team members feel comfortable in your presence. Thus, it will be easier for them to open up to you when they have a project- or work-related concerns. These treats are also a good way of showing your gratitude to the team.

Agile development teams at work

8. Encourage Continuous Learning and Professional Growth

Give your mobile software development team several opportunities to continue learning. Allowing them to join hackathons, conferences, and seminars will enable them to hone their skills, which may also let them take on more roles and responsibilities in the future.

By fostering a culture of learning and development, not only are you likely to make your team happier, but it’s also going to have a positive impression on your business. The more skills your team can learn, the more advanced features they can create. Turning your team members into specialists and improving their knowledge thanks to continued learning is beneficial for both the developer, team, and business.

Manage your team as if they were your greatest treasures, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy consistent success. 

A lead person responsible for the development sprint

Key Software Development Team Roles And Responsibilities

So now you know exactly how to manage your team, and how to get the best out of them, it’s time to build those all-important software development teams and get a better understand of the roles and responsibilities of each member. Before making any hiring decisions, however, it’s essential to know what specialists you need.

Will you be building your app or product on the cloud or focusing purely on javascript for now? Once you have a rough guide of what developers you’ll need, it’s time to fill the other gaps in your personnel.

When you bring in a team, you’ll also need to organize work processes and assign project roles. One of the most popular ways to do this is to use Scrum and a Scrum team, which comes from the Agile methodology.

The Scrum Guide describes three critical roles in a scrum team:

  • Product Owner: Often, the project’s key stakeholder
  • Scrum Master: Similar to a project manager (discussed below), they help tocoordinate the team’s work
  • The Development Team: A group of in-house or remote developers that work on the project together. We’ll discuss more on each role in the development team below.

When building a team, what’s also important to note is that there should never be two main leaders. This is likely to cause conflict and confusion with team members unsure of who is in charge.

The product owner is often the client and not one of the core members of the development team. So while they still will need to be kept up to date with the project’s progress, they won’t have any influence on the software development team structure.

A user checking out the features on a new product

The Development Team Structure

While there may be several jobs on the following list, this is just a sample of what you can expect for a software development team structure.

For larger projects, the list would be more extensive, with team roles and responsibilities distributed amongst the team and various specialists.

However, what’s necessary to understand is that if a deadline is tight, assigning responsibilities to someone who is a specialist in that area is key, not only for speed but also for quality.

Let’s take a look at the typical roles found in a software development team.

Project Manager

A project manager is like the Quarterback. They distribute work throughout the team while keeping an eye on the budget and deadline. Project managers set the goals and objectives and make sure everyone is hitting them.

Software Architect

A software architect is responsible for making critical project decisions regarding the internal structure of software systems while checking the technical interfaces. They also choose the right tools needed for projects and helps developers come up with their activity scenarios.

Project Lead

Different from a project manager, the project lead is responsible for the developer’s output. They are often the most experienced coder amongst the development team and can assist with a range of areas, not just limited to one specific specialty.

Quality Assurance Engineer

The QA engineer’s job is to ensure that the end product matches the client’s expectations. Therefore, Quality Assurance plays a significant role in software development as you don’t want to make something that the client doesn’t like.

Backend Developer

The back-end developer is knowledgeable in building the server part for a web app on the project team. Since this is the case, most backend developers are proficient in Java, PHP, and Ruby coding languages.

A software designer who is responsible for the system architecture

Testing expert

Vitally important, especially in MVP development, a testing expert checks that everything is working and functioning correctly. Their role involves checking the product for bugs and sending reports back to developers.

UX Designer

A UX designer is focused on all aspects to do with the User Experience. This could include the app’s usability, functionality, branding, marketing, and design. In addition, since they are involved with end-to-end product development, they can also assist with testing and finding new business opportunities.

Media Content Creation Expert

No need to expand on this one too much. Someone who creates those lovely images and videos to go along with your software.

SEO expert

If you want to organically grow your website to have consistent traffic hitting your page, SEO is crucial. Without a specialist, don’t expect your website to rank highly on search engines.

Business Analyst

A Business analyst helps guide a business by analyzing the current processes and systems and finding ways to improve the company through data and software. While not a vital member of a core development team, a business analyst can help improve its operations and align its processes with the business goals.

A software designer who is responsible for the system architecture

A Scrum Master, on the other hand, acts like a team leader who makes sure that the Scrum methodology is being followed.

Project Managers vs. Scrum Masters In a Software Development Team

You may be thinking, “What is the difference between a Project Manager and Scrum Master?”. Luckily for you, you’re in the right place.

The main difference is that it’s the Project Manager who sets the tasks and goals for other team members while making sure that they hit their targets.

A Scrum Master, on the other hand, acts like a team leader who makes sure that the Scrum methodology is being followed.

Scrum works through the application of independent teams, who test and retest their work consistently. Using a Scrum Master to monitor this prevents too much influence from a project manager whose responsibility is more admin and management based, rather than making sure that a specific methodology is being followed.

Using an agile development team to improve projects delivery

Evaluation of Team Performance

So, now that we understand our software development team roles, the team structure, and how to effectively manage our team, how do you measure your team’s performance?

It all boils down to two significant factors: Team results and team process.

Team Results

These are defined by the team’s objectives, which could be from a better product to using fewer resources. If a team brings their product under budget, before the deadline, and with increased product quality, it’s fair to say they have performed well.

Team Process

The team process, on the other hand, evaluates how the team performed. For example, were conflicts resolved quickly and efficiently, was communication fast and effective, did the project manager share relevant information often, and manage the budget correctly?

A team is not all about results. However, the team’s ability to work together efficiently and effectively can drive good results. So you want to make sure your team is collaborating, not fighting.

Search for a designer to create the system architecture

A development team should be evaluated at the end of each project cycle, which will allow you to benchmark it against future performance. For example, Benchmarking can occur during a project debriefing to determine whether each team member performed their duties well or what the team needs to work on for next time.

Final Word

Putting together a software development team is no easy feat, but knowing the individual roles of each member and what they need to achieve will allow you to plan for success. Creating a sense of focus is crucial, so project managers and specialized developers are vital to achieving the product idea. Managing a software development team is more than just picking professionals knowledgeable about their field; it’s about making sure they can work together to achieve a common goal too.

A member of a development team who's expertise is related to the project scope

About the author: Baptiste Leroux - CEO

After several years in the corporate world, I create my first Web startup as a social enterprise. Working with talented people, excellent software development skills, good communication, and a competitive pricing, we shifted our focus to web & mobile outsourcing projects. View on Linkedin

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