The tech world of today requires constant advancement. Regarding software development, developers always work to stay on target to meet crucial deadlines and create better products. But with the wrong planning, your team members will waste time on useless pursuits, unachievable goals, and unrepeatable processes.
With many of today’s tech companies having a mix of in-person and remote work, staying connected and collaborative is crucial. Proper sprint planning meetings and project management applications can lead your team to success.
But it’s all about how you use them.
1. Utilize sprint planning meetings effectively
When your development team is about to head into a sprint, they must be all on the same page. During this short amount of time, the sprint has the power to kick your software development into high gear. But if your team is still determining what their goals are, you may end up with time wasted.
A sprint planning meeting doesn’t have to be long. Ideally, the meeting should be two hours every week of the sprint. As the team leader, it’s up to you to keep the discussion on track. An effective sprint planning meeting defines the scope and the plan.
The scope allows you to set reasonable goals you aim to accomplish within this time.
The plan helps to divide up work with defined tasks going to each team member. By creating this backlog of tasks, you can rest assured your team will stay on target for the duration of the sprint. Ideally, your team members should be able to leave this meeting to go straight to focusing on their tasks.
If your team needs to continuously check in with you for their duties during the sprint, you’re losing valuable time and need to reconsider how you’re running these meetings.
Sometimes, a daily “stand up” sprint meeting compliments a longer sprint planning process. These daily stand-ups allow team members to voice their individual concerns and work through issues before they become too large to handle.
2. Set SMART goals
As a development team, goal setting keeps you on track throughout your project. Goals can boost productivity and prevent missed deadlines. On the other hand, you could set your team up for failure when you put arbitrary plans in place.
If your team consistently fails to meet your targets, you may have to consider that the goals themselves are the problem. Sometimes goals don’t have the right parameters attached, and no matter your team’s best intentions, they’ll never reach them because of this.
The most successful development teams use SMART goals, a framework set up in 1981 by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham. Five factors go into this goal-setting process: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Specific helps you narrow down the right target, while measurable allows you to know when and how your team will reach its goal. Achievable is essential because it’ll prevent you from wasting time on pursuits your team can’t carry out. Relevant stops you from wasting time on goals unrelated to your projects, and time-bound keeps your timeline on track.
When you set goals, understand these aren’t individual pursuits. Your team members should have a say in what kinds of targets you’re setting. Your employees can inform you of their workload and help you develop realistic expectations. You may establish goals you deem relevant without considering your team member’s needs, but your employees may think otherwise.
3. Automate what you can
There are only so many hours in a developer’s day. That time is ultimately better spent working on necessary coding advancement than on menial tasks that they don’t manually have to do today. As a result, the best software development teams automate everything they can.
You should automate certain tasks throughout your company in general. For instance, payment processes are better off automated to prevent your accounting team from wasting time sending individual paychecks or stop the rest of your employees from worrying about when or how their payment is coming in each month.
But there are specific types of automation that benefit developers in particular.
Think about what tasks your developers spend time on that may not have to be done manually. For example, your developers must constantly review their code, which can be a time sucker. Instead, you can send your code to a shared repository with continuous integration scripts, where automated tests verify it.
Using these automated tests ensures you’re creating an easily repeatable process that your developers can redo every release cycle.
4. Focus on proper documentation
Documentation is the best way to keep your developers connected on their projects. Software documentation provides your developers with the information they need about the technical aspects of the software they’re building.
But documentation is also beneficial beyond your development team. Well-written software documentation improves your software’s quality and user experience as it assists users with their overall understanding of how to use it.
Your team can’t afford to skip over documentation, but this aspect of a developer’s job often gets overlooked the most. So when launching your project with your team, ensure to prioritize documentation. But because developers already have a lot on their plates, you shouldn’t simply add the task of documentation onto those loads.
Make documentation easier by developing a content strategy to ensure every team member has their workload divided accordingly. Writing easily understood documents can be challenging, so make it simpler by putting together a style guide to ensure they’re writing in the company’s brand voice.
5. Document your collaboration and conversation
Remote work remains a controversial topic in the tech world.
Although many developers went remote in 2020, many employers have asked them to return to the office as of 2022. But a survey found that 83 percent of developers still work remotely at least half of the time. In addition, three in five developers are working remotely at least 90 percent of the time.
Although developers enjoy this remote work lifestyle, some additional challenges come with this change in the workplace. For example, one colleague cannot simply walk over to a coworker’s desk and check on a project. However, applications like Microsoft Teams and Slack allow colleagues to stay connected, ask each other questions, and even hop on impromptu one-on-one meetings.
But beyond communication, development teams located around the world need the help of collaboration tools. Project management applications like Asana, Trello and Monday allow you to assign tasks and give colleagues transparency into the overall project and what their coworkers are working on.
With applications like these, you’ll keep your timeline on track, allow coworkers to collaborate more efficiently, and have a simpler time documenting processes.
Successful development teams are willing to adapt, grow, and recognize when something isn’t working. With proper goal setting and sprint planning, you can boost productivity and prevent your team from spending time working on irrelevant pursuits.
With automation and the correct documentation, you can improve time management, create repeatable processes, and even improve user experience. Project management tools and communication applications can make documentation even easier. Following these steps can help set your team on a path to success, allowing you to create better products more efficiently.