How To Effectively Manage a Team of Programmers

Written By Vartika Kashyap

The stronger the team, the stronger the business, and it all starts with effective management.

Programmers are notoriously difficult to find, screen, and onboard. They are artists. They are ambitious. Whether you have a small or rapidly-expanding team of programmers, chances are you’re going to come across situations that wreak havoc on employee happiness and morale.

The popular saying “Employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers,” has a lot of truth to it. One definitely can’t overlook the impact a manager typically has on employees’ work-life balance, the success and failure of a project, and overall team growth.

Many team managers in the tech industry continue to struggle to manage their team (both remote and in-house). Truth be told, management doesn’t come easily. I don’t pretend to be an expert manager, but I’ve got some pointers that can ensure your team of programmers will perform well and stay on track. Let’s get started.

Use a Project Management System

Without project management, how would you tell how many resources are busy, how many are available, and whether they are all employed effectively for the business? A project management system is a means of managing a project by planning, organizing, and managing resources, particularly those supporting project management. It makes it easy for project managers to schedule projects, track progress, and make tweaks to projects.

Project managers with a good project management system will have everything they need to make changes to keep a project on schedule and under budget.

1. ProofHub

ProofHub is a cloud-based project management system that manages your deadlines and deliverables. When you invest in ProofHub, you’ll get the best project management software on the market today. By employing it, teams can easily make the most of their day and eventually reach their goals.

ProofHub is great for:

  • Planning/Scheduling – Plan and delegate tasks, subtasks, folders, templates, workflows, and calendars all in one place.
  • Collaboration – Assign tasks, add comments, organize dashboards, and review for proofing and approvals.
  • Documentation – Avoid any missing files with file management features.
  • Evaluation – Track and assess productivity through resource management and reporting.

2. Axosoft

Axosoft is another widely used Agile project management tool that can be used by software and application programmers who are interested in the Scrum framework. It helps programmers create and deliver fully functional, bug-free software on schedule.

With Axosoft you can:

  • Efficiently plan sprints with Axosoft Release Planner.
  • Visualize progress with Axosoft's Card View, an interactive kanban board that is fully customizable and editable.
  • Release projects on time when you have the right metrics at your fingertips.

Axosoft helps you create plans for development, design the steps of the process, collaborate effectively and seamlessly, schedule releases, and identify issues and resolve them on time prior to delivery.

3. Assembla

Assembla is a trusted partner on your journey to discovering “what’s next” on your project. It is a cloud-based task and code management tool for software developers wanting to secure open source code. Assembla Git scans for secret key credentials and vulnerable component dependencies automatically.

With Assembla, you can:

  • Improve and manage the development process.
  • Compare and contrast revision.
  • Organize releases for apps and other systems.
  • Eliminate bugs and issues.

By using Assembla, development teams move from the typical Scrum agile toward something more continuous, distributed, and scalable. It offers a complete suite of project management tools—integrated with Git, SVN, and Perforce projects—all in the cloud.

Assembla is also a provider of Dropbox integration, agile task management, team collaboration, and project management. You can cover all aspects from ideation to production, manage code reviews, document your work, and much more.

Don’t Be Too Bossy

Some managers are too demanding when telling a programmer how things should be done, planned, and accommodated. It’s super frustrating for employees to deal with a micromanaging boss day in and day out. Instead, be an attentive boss who will always help employees improve and be the best version of themselves.

If your team talks about you being bossy all the time, some things need to be changed. Be friendly, discuss tasks with employees as you assign them, don’t push too much for urgency, let them use their unique talents and skills to accomplish tasks their way— it will show results. If you’re not being a demanding boss, the team dynamic is likely to keep improving with soaring productivity and stronger long-term relationships.

Offer Flexible Hours and Remote Working

The traditional school of thought that employees should work in an office from 9 to 5 is quickly changing in the modern workforce and becoming a thing of the past. Programmers have to constantly solve problems and get stuck in code many times. They need to rework. And so they ultimately demand freedom and flexibility to work during their most productive hours for rising results.

Working remotely can be accomplished using proper tools for your Agile development team. A report by Owl Labs reveals that companies offering remote-friendly options see 25% less turnover than others. However, the modern workforce is changing in other ways as well. Today’s employees are not just looking for a 9-to-5 schedule and a paycheck; they also want a job that inspires them and fits with their lifestyle, routine, and future goals.

Providing Feedback

It is always necessary to provide feedback on the tasks delivered by the team because it involves listening actively, taking time to analyze their performance, and then bringing out the best possible solutions for them to perform better.

Sooner or later each programmer will need some feedback. What’s the best way to give them feedback and not scare them off at the same time?

  • Share responses promptly: Providing feedback instantly will save time for programmers and will make sure no important information is forgotten.
  • Keep it to the point: Provide appropriate feedback only.
  • Do not focus on others’ achievements: Comparing an employee to other developers will cause dispute instead of smooth teamwork.
  • Do not add new requirements: Feedback sessions should include just the feedback for ongoing, completed, or pending tasks.

Make no mistake: regular feedback for programmers will keep a productive, engaged team together.

Be a Leader, Not a Manager

There is always a buzz when talking about the difference between a leader and a manager. Leadership is a skill; management is a discipline. Leaders and managers each play a big role—a leader is the one who inspires and influences the team to work willingly. On the other hand, a manager is a major link between the firm and its stakeholders.

Be a leader who keeps the team engaged, motivated, and inspired. No longer is it time for managers to exist as controlling machines. If you want to gain the respect of your team, be a helpful and result-oriented person. The best managers don’t tell others how to do their work; they simply nurture an environment where their team can do their best work.

When leading a team of programmers, make them feel that you’ve got their back. For example, if they want to write the code, then let them do it as long as it’s in a way that benefits the company. Push them to expand their knowledge—whether it’s on a particular language or a particular subset of the language—and help them understand the organization’s goals and motto.

Time to Let Your Team Shine

A good project manager can make things happen. Team management will never be easy, but you’ve got the power to help the team be the best it can be.

Following these simple steps will make your work with your team of programmers both enjoyable and productive. With this type of approach, success is much more likely, so why not start making a change today?