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The Importance Of Sharing Knowledge In The Team And Different Levels Of Involvement image

The Importance Of Sharing Knowledge In The Team And Different Levels Of Involvement

First and foremost, is teamwork really better than solo? There are a huge number of advantages of working as a team member. When a group of developers works on a project, the risk of making an erroneous decision is reduced. Also, they make it possible to solve problems that are not within the power of one person, and the team provides the opportunity to maximize its potential for each member. Does the partnership seem too easy?

You might think that teamwork will bring results much faster and more efficiently than one programmer. But in fact, it is necessary to take into account some important factors for coordinated and outstanding synergy.

How can we unite a group of people?

Of course by using a common vision and purpose. Each team member has to understand project ideas and philosophy. Adhering to this concept, workers will stay on the right course. Colleagues complement each other, and seamlessly exchange various roles. Activities are coordinated, and as a result, everyone helps each other. There are initiative and a sense of responsibility for all team members. All for one and one for all!

It is very important for the unit to formulate goals as early as possible so that all team members understand their role in achieving the results and targets of the project. The best results are accomplished when the whole team takes part in the formulation of aims. Besides, goals indicate to the team the direction of work and make it possible to realize its value.

The distribution of roles helps partners understand their contributions and tasks in the group. To cut long story short, each member of the team must be given an act that is clearly formulated and suitable for this person. The wording of the roles helps to understand the problem, determine the path to its solution, and ultimately ensures the completion of the task. Moreover, everyone should know the importance of their work as extra motivation to do their own job great so as not to fail others.

How to make team members understand each other?

Before it, workers should be totally orientated in the project codebase and functionality. The ability to read someone else’s code is generally a very useful additional skill for any programmer, but it becomes even more useful when you need to understand your team partner’s code. We cannot clone developers and force them to use the one correct logic (or to detail the requirements for code design). It is better to cultivate understanding among colleagues and help them get acquainted with the logic of their companions.

One of the tools that help software developers to learn each other's logic is code reviews. It is very easy but at the same time a very useful practice, that plays a crucial role in teamwork. After one of the programmers makes changes to the code, he asks the other colleagues to check it. Team members leave their comments, some companies are engaged only in the search for errors. But for greater efficiency, they must also point out architectural flaws, misuse of tools, and poor writing style - incomprehensible or poorly perceived. Thus, both sides remain in abundance, because after all everyone works for the benefit of the team.

In addition, we described other tools that can help provide better communication in the team in previous articles: Conventions In Software Development. Bring The Culture To Your Project and Project Documentation. How To Keep It Clean

So we found out how important to follow some key factors to build strong and effective synergy. The next step is to review 3 different options for how colleagues can interact with each other working on a common project.

1. A solution architect is the first after God.

The position of the solution architect did not appear immediately, only over time, the companies realized that they needed one person who would be a professional in the technical field and would be responsible for architecture from beginning to end within the project. Ineffective solutions, errors in architecture are very expensive for both the customer and the business.

In this strategy, the solution architect completely controls the team. He informs each member of the team about his tasks, monitors deadlines, and the quality of work. His main goal is to track so that the task set by the customer is completed as accurately as possible.

Moreover, there is such a term “architect in an ivory tower” which means that the architect does his daily work, but he is outside the day-to-day activities of the workers in this project. Such a solution architect not only doesn’t know the details to be maximized in the context of direct development but also doesn’t help developers with advice.

A lot of companies use such strategy, but actually it’s not teamwork. It’s more like a classical hard-structured business model.

As a consequence, now we can highlight the main pros and cons of such teamwork strategy:

+   Centralized decision making. One person assumes responsibility for making decisions, and due to the fact that he is the leader of the team, it minimizes conflicts.
-   Narrow sighted problem-solving. It’s obvious. Two heads(maybe a lot more than two) are better than one.
-   High risk when such an employee leaves the team. Given the fact that the responsibility of the IT architect also includes communication with the client in the preparation of the contract, he really is the central figure of the project. And the loss of such a person can be costly to a company.

However, if we talk about teamwork, team members also want to be part of the overall decision-making process. It follows the next option we want to describe:

2. Solution architect gives programmers the reins.

It is the best way for modern development processes. It’s great when the team organizes a form of communication “teammates”. Nobody likes the all-knowing architect, especially the one who really doesn’t know all the intricacies of the work. A good IT architect needs to build a strong authority in the team, and find approaches to each member.

But let's not forget that the solution architect isn’t a magician and he can’t be absolutely involved in all the processes that take place in development. Thus, it will be appropriate to discuss the possible solving to the dispute or the next steps with a team of developers who "live” in these development processes.

In addition, to serve guidance, the architect provides feedback. He can give assignments to lower qualification level developers, then review it together with the rest of the team. Therefore, the important exchange of knowledge that we spoke about above is taking place.

+   Centralized documentation format and storage. Do not forget that the responsibilities of the architect include the documentation of architectural solutions that are used on the project.
+   Multiple points of view on the problem. The more views on the solution to the complication, the higher probability of choosing the best.
+   High possibility to find potential issues on early stage. It all follows from the fact that developers also have the right to speak.
+   Good environment for growing developers. In addition to programmers who get help from an experienced architect with a wealth of development knowledge, they also have a great opportunity for unlocking potential and manifesting ambition. And eventually, such developers are able to become strong enough to lead his own team. Following this statement, we recommend reading our previous article about 4 Phases Of Building A Successful Development Team

But what should small companies do in this situation?

3. Developers are self-contained enough to develop a solution by themselves.

Many startup companies don’t hire solution architects for their projects. First of all, because such businesses basically have very ambitious people who work for an idea, and they generate a lot of good ideas, and each person implementing a lot of logic. In such circumstances, the duties of an IT architect can be performed by an experienced project manager or developer.

But the problem is that in the absence of the solution architect, there is no common structure of conventions and documents. At the small-scale project level, this won’t be a huge problem. But if we talk about large companies with an already built complex IT landscape, developed functionality of legacy systems, experience person who can be responsible for decisions is needed.

+   Multiple points of view on the problem.
+   High possibility to find potential issues on early stage.
-   Developers are not always so strong in architecture. As it is banal but developers may simply don’t have enough knowledge for developing solutions that will help the business get the most out of it.
-   Hard to organize centralized documentation storage. Again, specialized knowledge and a clear documentation structure are needed that developers may not know.

It’s time to sum up. It is absolutely unimportant how many employees are in the company, 5 or 500, in any case, the exchange of knowledge is a useful tool in the implementation of a rewarding project. And there is no one single way on how to establish communication. Someone prefers to choose one option, and someone adopts to experiment and combine different formats that most organically fit into the working atmosphere. Effective is the way that based on the methods of interaction familiar to teams and provides equal access to knowledge to all participants.

01 Jul 2020
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