7 Ways To Strengthen Your Company's Software Development Team Structure

Nov 6, 2018 by Matt Dixon

If something goes wrong in your system, your development team will fix the problems. Your developers also work with a myriad of professionals to create the best software possible.

This is why having a powerful development team is vital for your company. But how do you ensure your team is a quality team?

Looking at a resume is useful and tracking coding skills is a must. But identifying a talented developer and a team player is more difficult than it sounds.

When creating your software development team structure, here are 7 ways to create your developer dream team.

1. Empower Them

Does your development team participate in collaboration? Do they work with other departments and have a say in company meetings? If not, then you should change that.

It's easy to isolate your development team. Oftentimes, the only communication coders have is when there is a problem.

Instead of approaching them when there's a bug in the system, empower them.

Let your developers collaborate with your company and help make decisions in their department.

It's also easy to assign tasks to your developers. Instead, let them assign their own tasks. Coding isn't all CSS and software -- any developer can use their creativity in their coding skill.

Let them take owndership by opening up collaboration, letting their voice be heard, and giving them a chance to use their creativity.

2. Don't Separate Roles

It's easy to praise development managers, only take their word seriously, and only approach management when there's an issue.

But what about the developers below them? When it comes to visibility and retention, don't try to separate roles.

Obviously, there's a reason why you promoted some developers to a managerial role. They have the best skills, performed better, and are the ones you trust the most.

But development managers do the same thing as the junior developer: they write code.

While there are responsibilities a manager has over a regular developer, don't try and separate the roles too much. You should also approach your regular developers with new ideas, any changes, and always take their word seriously.

3. Emphasize Collaboration

If a coder is skilled enough, they won't need help or advice from another coder very often.

That's why it's easy to isolate developers. They work independently, do the required jobs, and then go home. But that doesn't sound like a lot of fun, right?

To create a more engaging work culture for developers, emphasize collaboration.

Let's say your developers are redoing the company website. Before they get to work, let your developers collaborate on their ideas rather than making decisions internally.

Ask them their opinion on all aspects of the project. You may be surprised what you will learn.

In addition, emphasize a company culture where everyone helps each other.

If a developer has advice for their co-workers, let them share. If there's a junior developer on the team, ask them directly. Each member of the team has insights and ideas.

4. Increase Their Visibility

Do your coders sit in the corner and type at their computers, while the rest of your employees move around the office and collaborate with other team members? Your developers should also have a dominating presence in the office.

During company functions and office meetings, are your developers recognizable? Do they even attend?

Your developers are integral to your company's overall performance. Every company nowadays is a software company.

Even though your developers have tough deadlines, make office meetings worth their time. Discuss development updates and advice they can follow.

They deserve a greater role in your company. Emphasize your development team, let employees see their performance, and prove they're an amazing asset to your company.

5. Mix up Their Colleagues

Collaboration is a key subject in this role. But it's important to define collaboration. Departments tend to collaborate with similar departments.

Your developers may constantly collaborate with your designers or with your engineers.

But what about with the financial department or your sales team? You would be surprised how much your teams will grow when they collaborate with one another.

For example, your coders may find some issues with your financial software. Or maybe your sales team had some questions about your software.

Combining teams will present problems and solutions you never even knew existed. Even though these employees use different skills, they all work toward the same goal: making their job and your company the best it can be.

6. Cross-Training vs Specializing Roles

These days, "coding" is a very vague term. The digital language is used for a variety of different jobs. There are also different coders with different skills and specialties. They should be able to use their skills to its full potential.

There are times when you should cross-train employees. If they have more than one coding niche or can combine them, they will feel irreplaceable.

Maybe you hired a developer for your mobile team. But you also found out this developer has a background in web design.

Cross-train them to work on all mobile functions, including ensuring your website is responsive and any apps work.

But not all developers are the jack-of-all-trades. Some developers are great at one task. For these developers, it's best you give them their specialized role, and let them take ownership of that role.

Don't compromise their role in the company. Make them the leader in that niche or even promote them.

7. Never Compromise Great Work

With so much occurring in your business, it's easy to toss aside the good employees. This not only discourages them but can kill your employee retention.

If you have a developer who shows phenomenal performance, congratulate them. Make an effort to know their work is appreciated.

There are many ways to do this. The classic methods (and ones employees love) are the promotions and the raises.

But there are other ways to reward your all-star team members. Examples include treating them to lunch or buying them a gift card to their favorite store. The rewards that are unexpected, and show appreciation to them will have the greatest impact.

You'll See a Difference in Your Software Development Team Structure

Office politics and stress can easily weaken any team, especially your development team. But the key to exceptional developers is creating a strong software development team structure.

Boosting collaboration, transparency, and visibility will help your develops feel more appreciated. Reward your employees when they do well and tap into their talents.

For more advice on developing a more productive development team, take a look at our services.