Teamwork in Software Development

8 Benefits of building up a collaborative team

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How to Notice and Prevent Software Developer Burnout

How to Notice and Prevent Software Developer Burnout

How do you notice and prevent software developer burnout as a team lead or engineering manager? Burnout affects each person a bit differently. It often starts subtly and progresses incrementally. Developer burnout feeds into a vicious loop that can make your developers quit or even change career path. If not corrected, it can also lead to health consequences. The good news is that its onset can be identified, prevented, and rapidly alleviated. Let’s examine how.

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Effective Code Reviews

Best Practices for Effective Code Reviews

More than half (53%) of the software development teams do code reviews on a daily basis, according to SmartBear’s 2019 State of Code Review. They find, as one would expect, that more frequent code reviews have a direct correlation to higher-quality code. As their report goes on to say, “There is a compounding effect when you introduce all the benefits of code review into daily behavior. Communication improves, knowledge about the codebase is shared, and fewer bugs make it through development to QA.”

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Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.

~Author unknown

Benefits of teamwork in software development can be measured, qualitatively and quantitatively. Our recent discussion of Agile retrospectives helped to illustrate how. But, it’s worth going further. Today we’ll be looking at teamwork from another perspective. There are a lot of the things that go into teamwork are kind of hard to objectively measure. Think about it: Discipline. Confidence. Transparency. Trust. Morale.  Let’s see why teamwork is one of the greatest assets for success.

8 Benefits of Teamwork in Software Development

There’s a palpable difference in the motivation level of good teams compared to bad teams. The difference can be seen with turnover with tech startups often exceeding 25% as compared against an already high industry annual average for software developers of 12.3%. The quit rate for developers has been ticking up from 1.25% monthly in 2014 to 1.75% per in 2021. 

Fortunately, the two team-related reasons why developers leave factor in as a minority of the reasons, albeit significant, as to why developers leave a team. A lack of fit, covering all manner of social and interpersonal issues serves as the cause of about 20.2% of turnover. Management issues apply to another 16.5%.

Getting a grip on turnover is just one of the benefits of teamwork in software development. Good teamwork brings many other benefits though some can be difficult to measure on a stand-alone basis. Automated software development analytics like we provide at Gitential can help managers and team leads to more easily measure improvements over time.

#1. Teamwork Helps Improve Developer Skill

Every teammate has their own education, experience, and skills. When working together, it’s only natural for knowledge to be shared. Knowledge sharing is reinforced when pairing developers, during code reviews and walkthroughs, retrospectives, mentoring and continued education programs. Tally up and pro-rate each of these activities for their educational value and compare it to a typical college semester. Unlike college or trade school, developers are learning modern, team, and project-specific coding applications, tools, and techniques.

#2. Teamwork Increases Code Quality

Not only is knowledge shared, but coding quality is improved when you maintain a coding standard and enforce it. The key is to define “good enough code” and consistently enforcing the use of style guides with linters and code reviews. Even from a standing start, it should only take a few weeks for everyone on the team to begin conscientiously applying to the standard. Code will be easier to read, it will be easier to find bugs for the life of the project – which can span a decade or more. 

#3. And So It Also Boosts Productivity

Teamwork has a cascading effect – provided the team’s composition isn’t disrupted too much over time. The better a team is able to work together, the easier it becomes for the team to work even better together. Teammates get a feel for each other’s strengths and weaknesses, know who to turn to for assistance with specific problems, and how best to approach them. For more on this, check out Team Intelligence and AI for Improving Software Delivery.

Teamwork boosts productivity

#4. Teamwork Inspires Creativity and Innovation

When there’s an issue consistently plaguing the team, they’ll be thinking about it. If they can find an effective solution for it, they get rid of a headache and score a point with their colleagues. This can lead to their researching products and techniques or induce a flash of brilliance bringing them to discover some hidden root cause. 

#5. Retrospectives Continuously Elevate Efficiency

Retrospectives give developers the opportunity to safely communicate issues that could make their work easier or enable it to flow smoother. All members of your team get to hear about work processes that may be upstream or downstream from what they do. Retrospectives help teammates learn to do something to make their colleague’s work more efficient. These are improvements that might otherwise never be discussed – as a developer might choose to accept the status quo than risk offending someone.

#6. Teamwork Facilitates Transparency and Instills Accountability

Problems like the blame game arise when there is a lack of transparency. Between code reviews and retrospectives, there’s not much room to hide. There’s a fairly clear view on just about every line of code. Everything each team member does is available for show. It encourages developers to do their best. With the addition of an AI-Assistant, developers and managers can readily see if any of their team mates are encountering challenges so they can reach out with helpful tips.

#7. Teamwork Increases Business Potential

Improved developer skills inherently translate to improved coding quality, efficiency, productivity, breadth and depth of development capabilities. These, in turn, translate to the team’s or company’s capacity to do more work and efficiently handle a greater variety of software projects. Components that used to be outsourced can be done in-house. Improvements to coding quality and cycle time lead to happier, more successful customers. A profitable development team has more advancement opportunities than one that isn’t.

Benefits of Teamwork in Software Development

#8. Morale and Cohesion Keep Teams Together Longer

A team that works well together tends to have a much higher level of confidence in their work than those who don’t. Happy customers and successful software projects (on time, on budget, and people using it giving it good reviews) provides positive feedback. A team that consistently produces successful projects can develop a sense of pride and loyalty. 

Additionally though, when developers feel they are respected by their managers and they fit in well with the team – they’ll stick around longer. For every company with 25% turnover, there’s one with just 5% turnover.

The Overall Value of Teamwork

So, there are a few things to say about the value of teamwork. It’s not always about the money that your team or business can make. But everything that goes into developing good teams is also good for each team member’s emotional and physical well-being, too. In our earlier discussion of how to improve cycle time and the value of retrospectives, everything is interconnected.

Cultivating teamwork and software development skills takes time. With a dedicated effort, you’re likely to see measurable results in as little as two weeks – better code quality, fewer bugs, greater productivity and efficiency. It may take six months to a year to see reductions in turnover.

Teamwork is an aggregate of many specific components and activities like code reviews, retrospectives, and having clearly defined standards. But, to a large extent, you can calculate it. Figures are based on the average US developer’s wage of $110k. If the developer is an employee, the fully loaded cost (office space, taxes, benefits, etc.) runs between 1.25 and 1.40 of base wage, and 1.3 is used in our calculations.

  1. According to Stripe, developer inefficiency averages around 31.6%, roughly $45k  per developer is typically lost to waste – over $315k for an average team of 7 developers.
  2. Estimating the cost of turnover at 3 months of wages – cost to find, hire, and onboard a developer, plus loss of efficiency during onboarding, equates to about $35k per developer. This is highly variable just on recruiting method, however.
  3. Team/Project profitability requires more work to calculate. The goal is to track revenue relative to productivity improvements. While some may see this as obsessive, if software development services is your product, your business should know its breakeven point.

Other measurements may be possible, suffice that some companies charge by the hour, others by the project.

One-on-One Meetings and oKRs

Two other major activities play an important role not just for developing teamwork, but taking teamwork to the next level.

It’s recommended for engineering managers to conduct regular One-on-One Meetings with each developer on a bi-weekly basis. This might even go weekly for the chaos inherent in high-growth startups. This provides an opportunity for the engineering manager to keep aware of anything that is challenging the developer and track progress. It’s also an opportunity for the developer to provide engineering managers essential feedback on how they can be a better manager or address other issues they might be reluctant to bring up with the team. Everyone needs a feedback loop.

Then, to further enhance each developer’s professional potential, many high-growth companies like Google engage in Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) meetings – at the company, project, and team levels, sometimes at the individual contributor level, too. 

OKRs take aim at 10x’ing software delivery performance in alignment with overarching company objectives – taking Moon shots, or even Mars shots. This could be to dramatically increase productivity, achieving near-zero defects, or ramping up skills to take on projects involving new technologies. The link goes into greater detail. 

Gitential is engaged in transforming its software development analytics into an AI-Assistant for Software Development Teams. While the AI-Assistant will encompass numerous features, it helps to 10x engineering managers efforts to 10x their software team’s development. 

If you’d like to learn more about how an AI-Assistant can help you 10x your efforts, please check out:

 

About Gitential

Gitential is an Analytics and Engineering Intelligence service provider bringing visibility and optimization highlights on teams’ productivity. Our mission is to enable faster, data-driven decisions to continuously improve software delivery team cost performance and proactive risk management.

Ready to explore different ways to improve your software projects’ efficiency? Schedule a meeting and we will be happy to listen to and discuss your needs.

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Article Updated: February 04, 2022

How to Notice and Prevent Software Developer Burnout

How to Notice and Prevent Software Developer Burnout

How do you notice and prevent software developer burnout as a team lead or engineering manager? Burnout affects each person a bit differently. It often starts subtly and progresses incrementally. Developer burnout feeds into a vicious loop that can make your developers quit or even change career path. If not corrected, it can also lead to health consequences. The good news is that its onset can be identified, prevented, and rapidly alleviated. Let’s examine how.

Read More »
Effective Code Reviews

Best Practices for Effective Code Reviews

More than half (53%) of the software development teams do code reviews on a daily basis, according to SmartBear’s 2019 State of Code Review. They find, as one would expect, that more frequent code reviews have a direct correlation to higher-quality code. As their report goes on to say, “There is a compounding effect when you introduce all the benefits of code review into daily behavior. Communication improves, knowledge about the codebase is shared, and fewer bugs make it through development to QA.”

Read More »
Code Churn: The Good, The Bad and the... Perfect

Code Churn: The Good, The Bad and the… Perfect

Code churn is regarded by many software engineers as the best indicator of a code’s quality and defect density. Most engineers will also agree that code churn is good or bad relative to when and why it is taking place. But it is worth understanding in detail because it is 100x less costly to catch a defect during the design phase than catching it during maintenance.

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