Within any development team working on a designated software project, there can be a tech lead selected to overlook and aid in the progress and overall direction of the team. The lead helps everyone move forward and acts as a guide throughout the duration of product development. This shift transforms the individual from a developer to a leader for peers, and therefore shifts responsibilities and requires that they are well-equipped to perform a wide range of tasks both on a technical level and an interpersonal level. The following are signs that a tech lead is managing their team effectively balancing between output, delegation, and mediation & conflict management:
Ability to Delegates Tasks & Responsibilities:
A tech lead will often have extensive experience and the skill-set to complete a task or solve a problem that arises during the development phase. However, a large part of being a leader is being willing to delegate tasks to team members. This ensures that all members of a team are equally involved throughout all the stages of the project. It also helps ensure that developers are involved in various aspects of the project beyond writing code. Delegation encourages creative thinking to solve problems and allows for different viewpoints to be introduced to the project that can add a unique edge to the final project.
A team lead will recognize the importance of having one-on-one meetings with individual team members. This provides them with a chance to discuss their current responsibilities and work within the team or any concerns they might have. Having scheduled weekly or monthly meetings allows the lead to constantly keep up with the individual goals of all each developer. The more they are informed about what the developers want to get out of the experience of working on the project, then the more capable they will become at trying to align between individual and project goals.
Constantly keeping up with code writing and reviewing to be able to effectively advise and guide others:
An effective tech lead will demonstrate excellent coordination & communication skills. This includes discussion with the end-user of the product to make sure the project is on track and making sure that the project scope is consistently being considered as the project progresses further. They will also possess the necessary interpersonal skills to communicate with all departments, overcoming the challenges of having always been in a technical environment. One of the changes of being a tech lead is this newly added responsibility of talking to others and interacting with everyone beyond the development team.
Within any team of developers, they should be comfortable with reporting to the tech lead for mentorship. A great tech lead will earn the trust of team members and help not only solve problems but also act as a coach teaching fellow developers learn and grow through their own technical expertise. Being able to accept different viewpoints and opinions and trying to coordinate between them to reflect input from everyone included in the team enhances the work environment and productivity levels.
Introducing New Frameworks & Technology:
As with any system or process within an organization, when team members are used to working in a particular manner with certain technology, there can be hesitation in introducing new methods or frameworks. A smart tech lead will recognize that solving problems in new and unique ways could be beneficial for the overall productivity and output of the team. They will be willing to introduce new frameworks and methods of software development to stay on top of the latest industry trends. This also allows developers to learn new skills and expand their expertise through experiencing new methods of coding and furthering their technical experience.
Technical leadership plays a significant role in the overall environment and morale of any software development team. The role requires a combination of both strong interpersonal skills and talent in dealing with a multitude of stakeholders in the project, and vast technical expertise. A tech lead that has strong management skills and a vison for the future can strategically assist an IT business in improving the development process and accelerate the delivery of the final product to the market.