Shipping code and squashing bugs. That’s what being a developer is all about.
Unfortunately though, the reality is often a different one and developers will find that some of their time is lost to ‘organisational drag’. This is time spent digging up requirements, coordinating on the status of designs, sharing updates and all of those other small tasks that need to happen to bring a product to market.
In fact, the average company loses more than 20% of its productive power to this busy-work. That’s twelve minutes every hour from every member of the team – it quickly adds up. Thankfully, there are tools that can help teams focus on the work that matters and give some of those valuable hours back.
This article will explore the best ways to use workplace communication tools to make the development cycle as agile and efficient as possible. It’s not unusual for teams today to be spread across continents and time zones. These tools bring teams together quickly and can keep everyone aligned in real time.
Give Your Communications Purpose
A dedicated communication channel for each team and project is an essential place to start. A channel is a dedicated space for communication to which new members can be added or old ones removed, based on need. They can grow or shrink, be public or private as required and will keep an archive of existing knowledge that can then be searched through at later dates. Big projects will want to organise these channels by products, teams, services and function to start, in order to keep conversations and work focussed.
If you are able to commit to doing most work in public channels, information – such as the details of your last release – can be accessed easily by the whole team at any time. However, if you need to keep messages private you can do so in a private channel or through direct messages to individuals. Once you have channels set up with a clear purpose, the next step is to make sure you are being notified and alerted about relevant information.
Get Notified the Right Way
Developers have a whole host of applications they may be working with at any one time. With notifications and integrations, teams can bring those apps into the channels where discussions are already happening. That way everyone can work through issues together and get notified at the same time.
Having these alerts fed straight into a public channel comes with a number of benefits. Managers and other teams can monitor progress, teams can work together quickly, and everything is recorded to learn from in the future. On top that, integrations mean less time spent switching between apps or checking different notifications – and more time fixing issues. On the other hand, being able to snooze notifications or shut certain ones down is essential – the key is customising the notifications for your needs and adapting as required.
Finally, once you have channels and notifications customised, you will want to start to bring the work itself into your collaboration platform. This will allow team members to support one and other in delivering great work, and dealing with issues quickly. ITV, the UK’s largest commercial broadcasting network is just one organisation that’s cut response times since introducing a centralised collaboration hub, with powerful results. It can now resolve incidents six times faster than before.
Transparency across a communication platform can enable better collaboration. Team members should share the work they are doing, and managers can streamline their responsibilities to get quick updates on the status of a project or identify any blocks – by moving individual status updates into a public channel, for example.
A final key piece of advice for developers looking to tackle bad habits and maintain quality, is to create triage channels, in which individuals from across the organisation can flag irregularities, issues and bugs. Having one team member as “triage captain” each day means they can field the questions to relevant departments and flag top-priority items at speed.
While you won’t suddenly find yourself with hours to spare one day, a robust, transparent communication channels can go a long way to decluttering teams to the benefit of simply getting work done.