If you want to build the best possible mobile app, you need a team of developers who can work together. Better collaboration means your team members will be able to work more productively, come up with better ideas, and enjoy higher morale at the same time. But forcing collaboration doesn’t exactly work, and there are many tiny obstacles that can prevent collaboration from happening smoothly.
So what steps can you take as a team leader to improve collaboration in a mobile app development team?
Build and Promote a Healthy Work Culture
Your biggest responsibility will be creating and reinforcing the right type of work culture. Your company culture will dictate what types of employees you hire, how those employees work, and the natural attitudes of everyone in the workplace. In other words, your best opportunity is to set a tone for how people work in your organization.
Start by developing some core values that encourage collaboration. For example, you can set teamwork and mutual support as some of your organization’s biggest priorities. From there, you’ll need to work to promote and reinforce these cultural standards. Instituting good leaders who embody and seek out these qualities is a good start. It’s also a good idea to include electronic signage throughout your workplace, so employees are consistently engaged and reminded of the core values they’ve agreed to follow.
Facilitate Team Bonding
Team members will be able to work together more effectively if they have some kind of bond that extends beyond the workplace. That doesn’t mean your workers all have to be best friends, but they should be able to get along reasonably. You can facilitate this by giving employees more time to talk to each other and relax in a natural environment. Consider taking the team out for dinner or drinks after work, or host teambuilding events where people can really get to know each other.
Set Both Team and Individual Goals
Good collaboration requires people who can work together, but also people who take pride in their own individual roles. That means you’ll need to set both team-level and individual-level goals; for example, you might set a deadline for your entire development team to complete a project, while also guiding an individual on that team to improve their efficiency in one specific area.
Allow Autonomy and Flexibility When Possible
Autonomy is one of the most important factors for employee satisfaction in the workplace, and it can positively impact both productivity and morale, lending itself to better employee collaboration. Try to give employees more control over how they work, and be flexible with their requests. For example, some people collaborate better when they have fewer meetings, more chats, and more flexible hours; be accommodating where you can, and cater to individual preferences when possible.
Give Employees the Right Tools
It’s also important to ensure that your employees all have the tools they need to collaborate effectively. Depending on the type of application you’re developing, that could mean having access to the right devices and software for development. It also means getting employees the right tools for collaboration, which could include chat apps, project management platforms, and other tools meant to make it easier for teams to stay in touch with each other.
Provide Clear Direction
Good teamwork is dependent on good leadership, so you’ll need to make sure you have a strong, focused leader in place. Depending on the situation, that leader could be you. However you decide to structure the hierarchy, your leader needs to provide a vision and clear direction to the team; the more focused and specific they are, the more likely your individual team members will be to fall in line.
Think Creatively for Remote Teams
If you’re working with a remote mobile development team, collaboration may be more challenging, since you won’t have as many opportunities for meetings or teambuilding events. Think creatively, and try to give employees more chances to engage with one another. This also demands that you give your employees the right tools for remote communication.
Give and Receive Feedback
Finally, it’s important to give and receive feedback for mutual development. Take note of how your employees are collaborating with each other. You’ll want to reward the team players who go out of their way to create a better collaborative experience, and provide guidance to employees who fall behind. More than that, it’s important to ask employees what you could be doing better. Do they wish they had other tools to collaborate more effectively? Is there something missing from your workplace?
Creating a culture where mobile app development collaboration can occur will take months of ongoing effort. You need to be prepared to nurture this environment long-term if you want to see the best results from it.
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