As a manager in charge of technical professionals, I have learned that managing projects with multiple team members requires certain people skills, as well as technical skills. In the world of management, there are many skills required when it comes to the management of people. These skills, and how you apply them, vary depending on the type of business you are in, as well as the type of people whom you manage.
One thing that took me time to realize, is that every group or team of developers has a natural leader. A natural leader is someone who the rest of the team respects, and goes to with questions and problems. This person typically has no problem making decisions and lending assistance to other members of the team. Problem is, this natural leader is very often not the official leader of the team.
If you have properly motivated your team, you will be able to recognize your natural leaders pretty easily. One of the key methods to keeping the team happy and productive is to make sure that your natural leader is well equipped. This may seem like favoritism of sorts, but it is not. Iíve said earlier that technical professionals, developers in general, march to the beat of a different drum. If you can find the right sheet music, your team will happily march to your drums. The natural leaders are one of the key elements to such a success. Nurture the natural leaders, and in essence you are nurturing your entire team.
Another method of keeping a team productive is with a good influx of peer-group pressure within your teams. Technical professionals care a great deal about how they are perceived by their peers and team members. If they know that their peers will publicly critique their work, it will motivate them to do better. Technical people are very good at judging their own, and will often be very harsh with their team members. An example of constructive peer pressure would be to have team members present project design ideas to the rest of the group. There are many developers out there who are arrogant, and frankly not as good as they think they are. Iíve found that using the team approach has been a very successful method for dealing with such an issue.