Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 8

Constructive Criticism

Something I’ve seen many people struggle with is the ability to take constructive criticism, and inversely offer it.

Giving Constructive Criticism

I’ve previously recommended being free with advice.  An extension to this, and a vital leadership skill is the ability to critique a colleague’s work without causing offence.  Obviously being rude about someone’s work will alienate them and earn you no favours, but it’s often the case that a colleague won’t quite have understood the direction in which you wanted them to head with a certain task.  There’s a couple of things personally you can take from this : Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 8”

Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 7

Honesty

Honesty is the best policy…

…unequivocally.  Trying to cover something up simply doesn’t work.  Everyone makes mistakes, even your boss, and if they’re worth working for, they’ll know that.

As the lead you should be the first to admit when you:

  • are not going to make a deadline;
  • did something silly that broke the build;
  • are wrong;
  • simply don’t know the answer to a question.

The last one is really important.

Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 7”

Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 6

Pragmatism – Take your time

I’m sure you’ll have heard the saying :

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

…and it’s fair to say that 99% of the time, neither will your app be.  Be realistic regarding what you can achieve and by when.  Everything about the Agile methodology points to being able to work sustainably, and getting better at doing so along the way.  There’s many articles about picking a vertical stripe or horizontal stripes through your architecture and delivering a concise set of functionality.  My advice would be, don’t let your chosen stripe get too fat.  If you can’t hit an imposed deadline, be honest and say ‘no’.

Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 6”

Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 5

Saying No

One of the most important skills in leadership, is knowing how and when to say ‘no’.  It might sound trivial but it’s really far from it.  There’s an excellent chapter in The Clean Coder by Uncle Bob Martin.  I was fortunate enough to read this prior to having been put in a situation where I needed to say no and I found it  invaluable in hindsight, would highly recommend.

As a fresh Lead you will no doubt have a number of challenges in managing client expectations, and at points they will inevitably ask too much of both you and your team.  It’s times like these when you will gain the respect of the client for your honesty and integrity and the gratitude of your team for not putting them in awkward situations.

It’s easy to say yes, don’t fall into that trap, but just remember there’s a right way to do it. Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 5”

Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 4

Push Yourself

Don’t be afraid to tackle situations that will push you out of your comfort zone, you’ll always be better for it.  If you’re :

  • nervous about a presentation, do it;
  • putting off an awkward conversation, have it;
  • unfamiliar with a technology, learn it.

…you get the picture.

There are of course limits, be sensible.  Start small, Rome wasn’t built in a day and so on, but each time you tackle something new your horizon has expanded slightly, you’ll be unstoppable.  Have confidence.

Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 4”

Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 3

Raising the Alarm

I’m a big believer in the proverb:

A stitch in time saves nine

This holds true across so many scenarios in software development, perhaps most notably if your project is veering off course the worst thing you can do is sit on the problem and not tell those around you.

If you have a problem, talk about it, another quote:

A problem shared is a problem halved

If you’ve made a mistake, be honest and get on with it.  If you try to cover it up, chances are:

  1.  you won’t be able to;
  2. it will become infinitely worse.

Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 3”

Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 2

Following from Part 1 of my Development Team Leadership hints, I’d like to share a few more pointers to those starting out.

Being Nosy

You’re not being nosy, it’s your job to be involved in everything that’s going on around you, inside and on the periphery of your team.

You will be asked questions at some point about what the members of your team are doing, and you should know the answer.

Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 2”