One of the most challenging aspect of the IT industry is how to become an effective technical leader for a team of developers. The main aspects of it are strongly related to the particular dynamics and peculiarities of this sector and its professionals, in several aspects: from the need to be keep yourself up to date in the latest technologies and work methodologies (and it does not necessarily apply to most experts, at least not in the same sense) to the open understanding of the developer mindset and the ability to solve the usual conflicts that arise during the planning and execution of a project.
Additionally, being able to recruit, mentor and retain talented developers is among the most critical and notoriously delicate tasks the role involves. Keeping the right balance between experienced and non-experienced employees, offering an adequate career progression plan and to professionally challenge team members when occasion requires it, are also a very important, sizeable part of the position. Identifying and trusting your developers with delegated responsibilities when the team reaches a particular size is again of paramount importance. Being always available to hear and advise, even though certainly demanding, helps in preventing problems in a proactive way, and grants often assurance when most needed.
Another aspect remarkably important is that of general accountability, as in being the final responsible person for the work the team delivers: creating clear communication paths between the team members and the leader, removing specific blockades as soon as they are identified and always maintaining high quality standards, leading by example, is key to this.
Last but not least, the team leader labour involves some degree of communication with both customers and non-technical members of the company. Deep understanding of business and customer needs, being able to translate requirements into a project plan and technical architecture, offering different alternatives, both prior and during the course of the particular projects, and knowledge of product management are a must. Translating back from technical jargon to plain language, in a proper and concise way, becomes a second nature.
My experience in two different, international companies with team members from all over the world has provided me with the tools, knowledge and expertise to both comfortably bring up from scratch to managing a medium size team with different specialities, serving a range of customers projects and products.
Areas of expertise
These are a few of the hard and soft skills comprising my experience as a technical team leader
- Team building and leading
- Budget management
- Recruitment and mentoring
- Career development
- Technical customer support
- Software architecture
- Business and requirement analysis
- Project planing and management (Agile and Waterfall)
- International team experience