8 reasons why your development team needs direction and guidance
Here are eight reasons why your development team needs direction and guidance and how you can provide this input in a constructive and meaningful way
Have you ever had a conflict with someone because they assumed you knew what they were asking for? We’ve all been there, which is why it is sometimes baffling that development teams don’t get the direction and guidance they need from project managers and supervisors.
After all, while many people can usually anticipate needs within a project topic they’re familiar with, nobody can truly read minds. This is why we’re outlining the top reasons why it is so important to communicate with your dev team to ensure a better workflow and project completion process.
Here are eight reasons why your development team needs direction and guidance and how you can provide this input in a constructive and meaningful way.
1. Clear Expectations Set the Tone of the Project
The first reason why you should always give your development team directions and guidance from the very beginning is that it sets the right tone for the project. Simply put, when everyone knows where the process is headed, they know how to contribute in the best manner to make it happen.
Conveying these guidelines from the very beginning usually starts with having a creative or project brief. While the details can be adjusted based on needs along the way, this type of document makes it easy for everyone to refer to as necessary.
2. Projects Can Get Off Track
Another reason to communicate clear direction and guidance with your development team is that projects can (and will) get off track as they get further into the completion process. As anyone who has been in this industry for a lengthy amount of time will tell you, there are always sudden changes and discrepancies that have to be adjusted along the way.
This is why having a plan to offer this type of feedback and changes to your initial expectations is important. Guidance based on benchmarks or specific mini-goals within the project can keep everyone on the right path moving forward.
3. Budgets and Billable Hours Matter
Offering guidance and direction to your development team is also important for your overall bottom line. After all, budgets and billable hours matter. If your company is spending thousands of dollars on a professional development team, you want to ensure that they’re truly working on tasks that get everyone closer to the finish line.
To make this easier, be sure to have each dev team member keep track of time they’re using to complete a specific task. When you can match up these items to the guidelines you’ve set forth from the very beginning, it is much easier to ensure the whole team is working as efficiently as possible.
4. Assumptions Create Big Problems
There’s a fine line between offering guidance and micromanaging your team. That said, it is also important to note that assumptions create big problems. When your developers don’t know what’s expected of them to complete a specific task, they’re likely to take initiative on their own. While this isn’t always an issue, it does create situations where unnecessary steps are added, time is wasted, and completion gets farther away.
The best way to deal with this sort of issue is to have an open and communicative environment from the very beginning. Let your development team know that you want them to spot issues or areas where they can take the lead and make decisions, but that they should communicate them back to you first to prevent issues. This two-way street on guidance is an excellent way to ensure everyone is doing what they need to in order to complete the project.
5. It Makes Achieving Goals Easier
Simply put, proper guidance and direction make achieving goals easier. When everyone on a team knows exactly where they’re headed, then they can each do their part to reach that final benchmark.
As a project manager or supervisor, you can achieve this by carving the project up into concrete and attainable segments. For example, maybe a wireframe needs to be done by the end of the week and certain coding elements by the following Friday. When you’ve communicated this clearly, everyone knows what they’re working towards.
6. Unexpected Issues Happen
In addition to ease of project flow and goal achievement, it is important to give your team direction and guidance in case unexpected issues come up. Why? When everyone is on the same path towards a goal, they can make adjustments along the way that keep the whole thing from going too far off track.
Again, this comes back to taking initiative and a two-way communication level. Sometimes, minor things can be adjusted along the way without further guidance—but only if your developers know what is expected in the end.
7. Development Concerns Need to Be Heard
Another reason why your development team needs clear direction and guidance is that their concerns need to be heard. Maybe they don’t have the right skill set for the project or there just isn’t enough manpower to reach your lofty goals. In that case, communicating your expectations allows your team to analyze where they’re at and bring any possible issues to your attention.
While this is something that needs to be evaluated throughout the entire project, it is best to do it in the very beginning. You can also ask for input along the way at check-in meetings or at certain goal points.
8. Clear Direction Creates a Smooth Workflow
Finally, clear direction creates a smooth workflow. The better everyone understands what you’re hoping to accomplish, the easier and faster it is to get there. Teamwork starts with communication, and as the leader of the project it is your job to ensure this happens effectively.
Whether you’re already head first in a project or you’re just about to launch, having a plan to effectively communicate with your development team is crucial. These eight reasons are definitely a good place to start to ensure everyone is on the same page.