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Tom Pitt
Tom Pitt

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Managing a dev team, whats your best advice?

I have taken a position as Web Manager which I will be starting shortly. I have some dev experience but my knowledge is mostly commercial and analytics based. In my new role I will be tasked as like a gatekeeper for the dev team and project managing what they are working on.

What I want to know, what are the best experiences you have had with managers, supervisors etc in how they create an environment or culture for you to do your best work?

On the flip side, what are your worst experiences and stuff that I should look to avoid or be aware of?

Discussion (5)

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maxfindel profile image
Max F. Findel

I think that having clear expectations and explaining the rules of the game are the most important aspects of management, regardless of the rules and pace of the company and team.
It also doesn't matter if you change your mind or change the rules along the way, as long as you communicate them clearly.

In my experience as a dev I've been both micromanaged and drowned in meetings, which I hated. The complete opposite would be having a few goals per week and having complete creative freedom with as little meetings as possible (once a week is fine by me). I hope it helps πŸ€—

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tompitt94 profile image
Tom Pitt Author

I couldn't micromanage even if I wanted to! I'm the same, been micromanaged, hated it, felt like a little kid with zero trust!

Thanks for taking the time to reply, appreciate it

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mykezero profile image
Mykezero

Create a culture of team-first, where everyone trusts each other, no one points fingers and finishing objectives is a team effort. No one on other teams should know who committed the bad code and it's the team's job as a whole to ensure that does not happen (the person who wrote the code, should not be the one who tests it).

Ideally, there should be a shared chatroom where anyone can ask questions or post problems. Share team knowledge by rotating tasks so that not only one person is responsible for a specific piece. Developers should feel free and encouraged to help each other, especially if one has a tight deadline and the another person has the bandwidth to pitch in (more eyes, usually means less bugs and more confidence in the code).

Create a plan for upcoming projects and discuss them with the developers who will codifying the plan. Meet with them weekly to check in on their progress and to discuss what's stopping them or to clear any obstacles. If you have a daily scrum, encourage that they bring up work they are working on or what problems they are having as well, so that they are resolved fast.

Have a process in place for orchestrating promotions of code / infrastructure to production in a safe way and have a test plan for pre-deployment to verify everything is working before launch.

Only commit to working on one big project at a time and make other teams realize that the development team works on the highest priority task. A shared vision has to be created so that all stakeholders know what's being worked on and why. It's a company decision to pivot from one high priority task to another, but they have to realize not everything can be worked on at the same time.

Personally, I have a problem with reaching out to other departments to ask questions or leading a meeting with a group of stakeholders to discuss requirements, so taking the developer's questions about a feature and asking the appropriate person helps a lot.

Basically, if I have an environment with clear, communicated development objectives, friendly teammates that I can ask any question to, receive and give help, with a reliable, proven way to promote code and infrastructure, then there's nothing more that I can ask for as a developer.

And maybe just less meetings; hard to feel productive when 60% of the day you are in a meeting, and then knowing you are on the hook for a deadline, just absolutely drains me.

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tompitt94 profile image
Tom Pitt Author

Love this response, thanks for taking the time.

I definitely agree that clear objectives is a MUST! without that you can't judge success or accurately appraise performance as well as making it more difficult to motivate people to work towartds the goal.

As I mentioned my dev experience is limited so I see me stepping into a role of Project Manager/Scrum Master to make sure the devs have time and freedom to just code, test and repeat!

Thanks again for the advice

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bdstefan profile image
Stefan Boila

Your first priority should be to build a trust relationship between you and your direct reports(this works in both ways, don’t forget). And as already mentioned, set clear expectation and be transparent in your decisions.

I recommend you this reading: about.gitlab.com/handbook/engineer...