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Building Stronger Relationships With Software Engineers

by Victor Purolnik
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Today, we’ll be talking about how you as a founder, manager, or tech lead can begin to build stronger relationships with software engineers. We’ll also take a look at some of the common symptoms that indicate that you may be hindering their productivity and how you can start to solve that and improve.

Almost 90 percent of the clients we get come to us seeking to improve the productivity of their development teams and gain more clarity within their product development process.

While most of the time this can be solved by having a good mix of senior developers within the team, having the right tech leadership in place, or coaching and mentoring, sometimes the problem can be the founder, manager, or current tech lead who makes the working relationship difficult.

So we’ll begin by talking about the various ways founders, managers and take leads make it difficult for developers to work with them.

Ever-changing Plans and Features

One of the primary challenges faced by development teams is the instability caused by constantly shifting plans and features.

If your plans and goals or jobs to be done are constantly changing, then this is undoubtedly going to be frustrating.

This is where having a clear roadmap or plan comes in handy, which we’ll talk about next.

While flexibility is essential in response to evolving market needs, frequent changes without clear communication can leave developers feeling adrift.

If you’re working with a team of remote engineers, it becomes paramount to have clear roadmaps and to-do’s outlined clearly. Failure to do so results in uncertainty and reduced autonomy.

Lack of Concrete Documentation

As mentioned earlier, clear documentation serves as a compass for development teams navigating complex projects. Without it, team members may lack crucial context, leading to inefficiencies and misunderstandings.

Investing time in providing detailed documentation, including user stories and business goals, empowers developers to make informed decisions and align their efforts with the broader objectives of the project.

Insufficient Sharing of Business Information

Effective collaboration hinges on a shared understanding of the business context and user needs.

Merely specifying desired features without elucidating the underlying rationale deprives developers of valuable insights – so take time to give people a bit of context.

The perfect example is when you have user stories right – Go the extra mile rather than just telling engineers to build button x so that when users click it does xyz.

By sharing information about those stories, the users and their personas who need that particular feature, and why and how that eventually affects the business, leaders enable their teams to develop solutions that resonate with end-users and drive business outcomes.

Lack of adequate Communication

Here a huge issue we normally see especially if you work with remote teams is thinking that just having a quick Goole meet call will be sufficient enough to get your point across.

While calls can facilitate real-time communication and brainstorming, they should not serve as a substitute for documentation and collaborative work sessions.

Making sure you’re balancing calls with written documentation and collaborative design sessions ensures that all team members are equipped with the information they need to succeed.

Accountability and Availability

A leader’s availability and accountability are vital for maintaining momentum and addressing challenges promptly.

Failure to provide timely responses and guidance can impede progress and erode team morale.

Establishing clear accountability processes and maintaining open lines of communication demonstrates a commitment to supporting the team’s success.

So how can you begin to improve?

  • Implement robust product processes and documentation practices.
  • Defining and having clear product roadmaps.
  • Establishing ownership roles where everyone knows what docket they are responsible for.
  • Finally, invest in training and mentorship to upskill yourself and your teams.

Consider working with a Fractional CPO or CTO to leverage professional knowledge and streamline development processes.

Fractional consultants offer a cost-effective solution for accessing specialized expertise and enhancing your team’s capabilities.

Want to learn more strategies on how to improve your collaboration with your tech and product teams?

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Victor Purolnik

Trustshoring Founder

Author, speaker, and podcast host with 10 years of experience building and managing remote product teams. Graduated in computer science and engineering management. Has helped over 300 startups and scaleups launch, raise, scale, and exit.

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