The Importance of the Team
Remember, you are a part of a larger team
When you are part of a team, you need to remember that each member is different from you. They think and speak differently and have different skills and priorities. These differences are what make your team effective, but this can also lead to some of the biggest pain points.
As developers, we need to remember that our team members rarely understand any dev talk or any dev standards. So, when a team member comes with a change, idea, or request, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and understand their perspective. They are not attacking your work, or trying to make your job harder, or trying to waste your time. So, don’t be offended or defensive.
Also, don’t just ignore your team members because they don’t understand what a browser cache is or what SSL means. Taking the lone wolf approach to your work will make said work less effective as it lacks the value from different perspectives. Not to mention the lone wolf work ethic will more than likely lead to job loss.
It all starts and ends with communication
Keep it simple and clear
When communicating with your team, the most important thing to understand is the difference between criticizing and critiquing. If you are receiving feedback, don’t take it personally and don’t get defensive. When you are providing feedback, always be constructive and specific and give the other member a chance to explain or reply. When communicating via a comment, message, or email, be as simple and clear as possible. Lengthy text will be skimmed through and is easily taken the wrong way. Also, don’t be afraid to use emojis or memes to help communicate emotion.
In a team environment, never be afraid to ask questions, no matter how stupid it makes you feel. This is how you learn to connect and understand each other. If something in the design is not clear, you need someone to clarify functionality, or you do not understand the purpose at all, ask. This is how you grow and become a more effective team member.
Keeping everyone happy…
while maintaining dev standards
As developers, it’s our job to create clean code and make sure our websites are optimized for accessibility, speed and responsiveness. It’s our job to speak up and let team members know when changes or decisions will affect our ability to reach those standards. It’s not our job to be aggressive and completely dismiss team member’s requests, changes, or ideas because of how they will affect the performance of the site. Show passion—not ego.
We need to take the time to listen and understand that every project is different and has different goals. As much as it pains me to say, deadlines and budget may mean completely skipping out on some of these standards. I wish every project had a good budget that allowed for us to spend unlimited time to make everything perfect, but that is just not realistic. We need to do our best to bring balance and the good news is that web sites are dynamic and could grow, change and evolve in time.
An effective member of an effective team
No matter how good of a developer you are if you don’t play well with others all you do is hold back the team. Take the time today to connect with your team, put yourself in their shoes and start to listen to what they have to say.