6 ways your software development team can collaborate better

Tech and Tools   |   
Published October 7, 2020   |   

If you want to build excellent software products, you need a development team that can work together seamlessly. However, getting people to produce excellent code together is not easy. This can become even more challenging when designers and artists also have to contribute. The following six tips can improve your collaboration and results.

Establish Good Version Control

Version control is a set of tools and techniques necessary to save revisions of your software. Every time someone updates the software, that version is captured. This has a lot of benefits. It prevents people from overwriting each other’s work accidentally. It also makes it so you can roll back to an earlier version if necessary. Finally, it allows different workers to have their own versions of the code to work on. Most version control tools aid with merging work from multiple people.

Good version control is more than just a tool, however. It is also about setting procedures about how the team will use the tool.

Automate Information Sharing

Information sharing is at the heart of good software teams. Many teams like to use tools such as instant messaging to talk and work collaboratively. You can improve information sharing by integrating your pipeline tools with your communication tools.

For example, you could automatically send a message to your IM tool whenever your code repository is updated. The same can happen when a version is released to production. Similarly, you can set up visualization tools that help people share information with minimal effort.

Don’t Let Technical Debt Build Up

Technical debt is the result of rushing through work without the proper documentation or coding practices. It is most common for technical debt to accumulate during crunch periods (when good enough and soon is better than great and late).

This can be a major issue that causes a lot of frustration and poor-quality software. Give people the time they need to produce good-quality code with proper documentation.

Invest in DevOps

DevOps is the set of practices involved with bringing together software development and IT operations. Essentially, it is the processes used to take software from the development phase to being live and usable by customers.

One of the central ideas in DevOps is a CICD pipeline. This is short for continuous integration and continuous delivery. The goal is to streamline the team’s ability to improve the product for customers and deliver those improvements. CICD typically involves a lot of automation and carefully planned, repeatable processes.

Implement and Follow Good Project Management

Project management is essential for organizing any team working on a project together. However, exactly how project management is achieved depends on the nature of the project and the group. Agile is very popular on many software development teams. Nonetheless, it may not be right for every group, especially smaller and more casual groups.

The key to good project management is finding the style that works for you. From there, your team must closely adhere to the established practices.

Establish Clear Workflow Procedures

Finally, make sure that you have clear workflows for how things should get done. For example, everyone should be on the same page about how a system will be architected, implemented and tested. Simply writing these procedures down can help to significantly improve software team collaboration.

Even things as simple as the naming convention for methods in your code can be helpful to establish. When they are named consistently, people can understand each other’s code. However, if they are a mess of different styles, you will quickly run into obstacles and confusion.

Get Started Today

Try some of the above suggestions to make your software development team stronger. As you try out some of these ideas, you will find what works for your specific circumstances. A team of two working on a passion project has very different needs than a team of 100 working on a major enterprise software.