Tips for boosting your software team’s skills development

Tips for boosting your software team’s skills development

Here we share six ways of improving your software team’s skills so that they can work more effectively and get where they need to be.

We all want to be part of the best software team, right? We want a team that is fast, productive, innovative, very well organized, has high standards, and overall, has the right skills and capabilities to cope with the issues and challenges a software team faces on a daily basis.

Working on improvement and encouraging stronger development skills within our teams is essential for leaders and Project Managers. We need all team members to be equally qualified to complete the tasks in order to be more effective, increase productivity, and obtain better results.

That’s why I want to share a set of best practices and techniques commonly used to help team members in the development and improvement of both personal and professional skills.

Encourage collaboration

First of all, it’s important to promote the idea of collaboration within the team so that knowledge can be shared among all members, especially from those more experienced and better skilled to the less experienced ones. Encourage them to meet, share, and exchange with their peers. They can end up being a great source of advice and new ideas. The following two best practices, for example, are widely recommended to help improve the effectiveness of a team.

Pair programming

two developers doing pair programming

With this technique, teammates work together on the same task at the same workstation. In general, one of them has more knowledge about the technology and tools used in the project. In this way, the less experienced developer learns from his partner while he/she gets up to speed more quickly than doing it by himself/herself. This technique also guarantees fewer coding mistakes.

As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one”. It is an effective way of sharing knowledge that also helps team members learn to communicate with each other and develop better interpersonal skills.

Code reviews / Peer reviews

Code reviews are also a great way to learn and improve a software team’s skills. Thanks to this, less experienced developers get feedback on their work by a highly experienced person (a developer, leader, manager, etc.). At the same time, it is a good way of promoting communication in the group, reinforcing team relationships, and developing an atmosphere of openness and honesty.

What is more, these practices are a good way to let people learn what they don’t know or need to improve without paying for training.

This might be interesting: 5 whys code review is important and needed in any software development

Offer continuous training and education

Training is a great option for improving the skills of a software team. Many times, team members need to be trained according to specific needs and capabilities that a project requires or they just need to improve in certain areas. In other cases, due to constantly evolving trends, they may have trouble keeping up to date with the latest technologies and frameworks, so they need to gain expertise.

Group of Hexacta's developers running a meet-up

That’s why providing continuous training on different tools, frameworks, languages, and techniques for your software development team is what may be required. You can either run local meetups and courses by experienced in-house experts or bring an external trainer to teach your employees. Other options are sending relevant team members to courses or implementing online training so they can later share what they learned with the rest of the team.

Investing in your team’s training is a good way of improving their current skillset that will not only benefit them but also the company, as it can be very useful for future projects.

Useful advice: Keep track of people’s skills with an internal database so that when you evaluate the required skills for a specific project, you already know who you can work with. This is also beneficial to understand the expertise of your employees in order to connect them to the right training programs.

Take a look at this: Lessons learned in software: from Junior dev to Architecture Manager

Boost expertise by encouraging self-training

Another way is to encourage team members to train on their own and take advantage of all the learning opportunities they have at their fingertips.

Encourage them to acquire knowledge by reading books, listening to podcasts, or joining free online courses or webinars. In that way, team members will always be informed and up to date with the latest trends and technologies. Attending meetups and events are also a great opportunity to learn new stuff and meet other talented developers. Make the most of it!

Promote good communication

Having technical skills is not the only thing that matters. Communication skills are also equally important, as much of the success of a team depends on what type of communication exists. It’s necessary to encourage and have open communication channels among all members to make sure information flows seamlessly.

Man with headsets on looking at his computer

Introduce quick daily meetings during which developers can rely on to know the status of the project they are working on. Combine this with communication platforms, such as Hangout, Slack, Teams, Skype, etc., so that there is a much smaller chance for misunderstandings to occur. Try to establish a single point of contact to make sure communication takes place in one channel and is not fragmented into many others.

Also, make sure to create an environment in which people can feel comfortable asking for help to achieve their personal career goals. Make sure they know they have the support of the team leader for innovating and seeking out new skills. In that way, you will promote a cohesive and creative team.

Create a productive and distraction-free environment

The environment in which one works also has a lot to do with the efficiency.  Make sure to build a work environment that promotes focus. Clear out any distractions (unnecessary requests for progress reports, emails, messages), give employees flexible working hours, and reduce the number of meetings or unimportant tasks that might cause time wasting. All these can make the team lose direction or focus.

Additionally, make sure the workspace is a distraction-free environment. Working in a quiet environment can significantly increase concentration ability as well as productivity and creativity.

Content related:  5 clues to keep your software development team productive

Get external help from a nearshore software development company

It may also be the case that you don’t have the necessary time or skills to improve your software development team because the timeline and deliverable expectations of the project require experienced people as soon as possible.

Under those circumstances, resorting to an external software development company can be the ideal resource to help you improve your internal software development team, as they may have the skills and experience your team lacks. Hiring an outsourcing company will give you immediate access not only to professionals with a lot of experience and knowledge but will also lead to better results since they can help your team boost efficiency and productivity.

To sum up

In order for a team to acquire new skills or improve the ones they have, a combination of providing the right tools and techniques is necessary, and people should be encouraged to take advantage of the learning opportunities that are available. This will benefit not only the team’s efficiency but their personal and career growth as well.

Do not forget to provide an adequate and stimulating environment so that they keep focused. Considering these practices will help to optimize your software development team’s skills and ensure project success. Don’t wait any longer and start applying them now!
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