As a tech leader, you’re responsible for leading a development team. Thus you’re in control of all the technology deliverables that contribute to achieving the overall vision or strategy of your company. However, as you will be handling multiple demands and projects most of the time, you need to know the right project management strategies and how to set priorities so that you can get everything done.
Furthermore, to be effective as a leader, you’ll also need to inspire trust and respect in your team members and stimulate productivity in your workplace.
Here are some of the essential project management strategies you need to master to become a good tech leader.
Know the Basics
As a leader of a tech team, you will be responsible for the execution of many tech projects, so you need to prepare both yourself and your team for taking over full accountability and ownership.
Before committing to any project, here are some of the basic questions you should know the answers for:
- How does the project contribute to the overall goals and vision of your company?
- Who are the stakeholders, and what problems do they want to solve?
- What are the scope, expected outcomes, and project outputs? How will you know your team’s work is done?
- What is the desired timeline, and what are the milestones? Are there any legal consequences if your work is not delivered on time?
The answers to these questions will put you more in control over the project – they will help you plan the execution, organize it, and keep track of it, making sure the milestones are met on time.
Motivate the Team
A good tech leader knows how to sell their team members on the project to keep them engaged and motivated.
Your team members will hardly be efficient and productive if they see the project as just another set of tasks they need to complete.
However, if you show them the clear connection between the tasks and the product they’re working on and the overall business or strategy, they are more likely to develop a sense of ownership and accountability that will keep them moving forward.
Set Clear Expectations
Once you are clear about how your tech solutions are aligned with the business goals of your company, and what expectations are put in front of your team, you should communicate this to your team members, and assign them their roles.
Depending on the structure of your team, you will need to assemble a team for a specific project, and discuss in detail their roles and your expectations.
When creating a specific team, take everything you know about your team members into consideration.
As a leader, you already know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their career plans. You can use each of the projects as an opportunity to pair your experienced engineers with less experienced ones, thus allowing both to grow.
Embrace the Tech
Good tech leaders can recognize the importance of the latest technology solutions and request their implementation in different sectors.
They are aware that some of the possible applications of the latest technologies can do wonders for their business.
For example, automation, AI, big data, and cloud computing will not only take the functioning of their team to a whole new level, but it will also make their businesses gain and keep a competitive edge.
To generate better business results, tech leaders could suggest companies get started with chatbots or use some other forms of automation and free up their financial and human resources.
Evaluate Potential Risks
Whenever you’re in the position to negotiate the terms of a project, it’s your job to try to work out reasonable goals and deadlines, and avoid putting too much pressure on your team members.
Before making any agreements, make sure you’ve evaluated the risks thoroughly and planned enough time for all the unknowns.
In most of the companies, deadlines, and other terms of the project, can be negotiated. If you miss this opportunity and overpromise, your team will end up working long hours and over the weekends to meet unrealistic deadlines, under the pressure of failing.
If you need to make a choice, it’s better to under-promise, so that you can eventually overdeliver.
Avoid micromanaging your team members at all costs, as this is the sure way to kill their engagement and their motivation, making them feel distrusted and over-scrutinized.
You’re quite aware that as a tech leader, you can’t own and be responsible for everything your team is doing, nor is there any real need to.
Let your engineers take full ownership of their areas of responsibility. Once your expectations are clear, set the limits and give them the autonomy to achieve the desired outcomes in the way that’s most convenient for them.
Allow your team members to fail and learn from their mistakes – this is the only surefire way to grow.
A tech leader today wears many hats – they need to make the right environment for their teams to thrive, and at the same time to drive their projects and their companies to success. Use the tips above to inspire trust and respect in your engineers and deliver some great results.
About the author:
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.