A Developer’s Guide to Team Projects
In creating projects, we know its best delivered in a team, there’s a lot of benefits in terms of delivery time, the quality, the effort, and the result compared to creating projects alone, where you’ll need more time and more effort.
In the course of working it out with the team, there are some issues that might occur, and before it does you need to know what to do in those situations. These tips that I put forward are best for practical use, so that you’ll get a better result. And if it does not work for you, then these are just experiences and there might be other ways I’m unaware of.
This might rank number one when speaking about team projects, and because it’s so important it should be discussed extensively.
There’s a discussion going on, who’s going to lead the designing team, who’ll be in charge of the team of back-end programming, how to deliver the project more efficiently … So of course everyone is encouraged to participate and contribute ideas. Every idea is worth listening to.
When a teammate suggests something, he’s suggesting it because he sees good in it, and when he rejects something, also because he sees flaws in it. The point is, he has his own justification for saying so. So do you.
We become defensive when we see a clash of ideas, as to which one’s better, and tend to focus only on the good side of ours, mostly because it came from us. It’s unfair because we’re not focusing on the bad side of it, or the good side of other opinions.
Be a Good Listener
When everybody becomes selfish and defensive, it’s best to be a good listener. Pay undivided attention to what others are saying. When you try to understand their justification and be open, then sometimes you’ll see it is a better idea.
See it from their viewpoint, that’s the most important rule to keep in your mind.
One thing that keeps us from doing this is we always say no too early. Before we even give someone a chance to speak, we already say to ourselves mine is the best idea, nothing more is better. Especially if you’re the boss, then you might feel uncomfortable if someone has a better idea and takes it all.
Think without bias. Evaluate every idea that comes, no matter who it came from.
But Mine Seems Better
And…if the idea that’s put forth seems bad to you, what to do? First, do not criticize. Give yourself a moment to think about it. Don’t say it’s a bad idea, instead praise the good in the idea. Then tell them that’s a good idea, and just for the sake of giving idea, you tell them your idea.
Make them understand the good in your idea, and let them judge which one is best. If the majority says that one idea is the best and not yours, then they might be correct.
It Doesn’t Matter whose Idea it belongs to
Say you have a very selfish co-worker, and he really has no brains. Then if you really want to contribute to the team, when telling him the idea, make him feel like the idea is his. He will be more accepting of an idea if he think it’s his, and just let him take the credit.
Because at that time the most important thing to consider is the growth of the company and project, so it doesn’t matter if he gets the credits. But if your goal is to climb up the rankings, then this might not really be a good tip.
2. Unmotivated Teammates
The Only Way
There’s only one way to make people do something, and that is to create interest inside them to do it. Think from their perspective on what they’ll get, and tell them that.
If you only tell them do the work, because if not I’m the one in trouble, then who cares? It’s not about me, it’s about you. But what if you said something that gives them the benefits later?
Or at least make the job seems interesting and fun enough so that they’ll get moving. Your co-workers of course want to do a job that makes them excited, not bored.
Sometimes people are in need of attention, so if you kinda beg them to do the work you because you need them, they might do it.
There’s another way that we like doing but ineffective, that is through forcing and criticizing. Hey, what’s wrong with you?! Don’t you know that the project’s due soon?! Can you not be lazy?!
Have you ever tried this method? Maybe you should once just to know the result of it. Surely, they might do it, but the instance you’re not looking, then they’re back to doing their own things. Not just that, now you’ve sparked hatred inside them towards you, which’ll make job more difficult in the future.
How to Do it
It’s best to have someone understanding, and can sympathize with your problems. As have been mentioned, your teammates have their own justification for doing it, so by scolding you’re not solving the issue at hand, you’re worsening the situation.
When you try to understand them, you’re also telling them you appreciate their effort, and they’re important in the team. When people know they’re being valued, they’ll try their best not to disappoint others’ hopes.
So LISTEN to them telling their problems, let them express it all out, and tell them their value in the team.
How to Create One
One of the easiest things to do in a team is to create arguments, try not to listen to others, interrupt them when they’re speaking, and do it your own way. You’ll find yourself having a lot of enemies soon enough.
This is because people have their own stand, and you’re not giving them the opportunity to express their stand if you’re not willing to listen. We always say there’s no teamwork when there’s an argument. Teamwork will only be achieved when there’s good communication and everyone is trying to understand each other.
While if you’re just doing it your own way, there’s a high chance you’ll get embarrassed later on. What if the thing that you did your own way didn’t work out? Now because of your overconfidence and unwillingness to listen, you’ll be ashamed. You’re lowering yourself down: now others can say to you, ‘didn’t we tell you that wouldn’t work?’.
Remember the rule, never do something that later on people would say, ‘Didn’t we advise you?’. It’s fine if you tried to listen to them, then you explained to them your way, they followed you, and it didn’t work. If it was done this way, at least you’ve done the part of thinking which idea was the best and others can’t condemn you for your arrogance.
How to Avoid
When you’re about to express something to your teammates(suggest idea, tell them their weakness), do start by telling them the common ground that you have with them.
Ask a few questions like, do you want to create a quality project? Don’t you want the project to be done ASAP? We both want to deliver the best right?
Only then you continue. This creates a big difference. Someone that you tell them we have this and this same goal, and someone you directly tell them what you suggest, the first way is going to be more effective.
By doing what has been suggested, you’re telling them man, we’re on the same path. So let’s work it out together. You’re again reminding them that you want to achieve the same thing. Indirectly, you’re saying an argument is unnecessary.
Another point on why you should do this is because it sets a positive attitude in your co-worker. By getting a lot of yes answers in the beginning, unconsciously their mind know you’re their friend and not enemy. So it’s easier for them to open up to what you wanted to say next.
If you skipped this ‘yes questions’, they might be defensive when you’re trying to correct them. You don’t have the intention to criticize them, but surely you don’t know what they might be thinking.
Concluding it, I really suggest you to read the book, “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, it’s one of the best reads. There’s a lot to benefit as a developer when you’re better at handling teammates as well as clients.