In software development, building a great team is a delicate yet achievable goal. Although there isn't an exact formula, most managers would come to a common consensus on the basics. The formula might look something like this: Varying Skill Sets + Seasoned Members + Balanced Personalities + Proper Mindset = Success! Many attempt to build teams with this or similar formulas but find that some teams still struggle to shine. This is generally due to a lack of team confidence. Although each member might be an all-star on their own, when placed on a team, the team itself has its own personality. A team with confidence issues is dangerous and typically results in disorganization, frustration, mistrust, unhealthy debate, buggy releases, and missed deadlines. The good news is there's a simple way to build team confidence.
Team confidence can be achieved through delegation. This is not in reference to the programming "delegation" design pattern. This concept has been around much longer than modern technology. Good old fashion delegation is "the partnership of authority ... to carry out specific activities." After reading this section, there might be some skeptics out there. That's okay; skepticism is good (check out Skepticism: A Developer's Sixth Sense). Let's break down the results of this simple, yet very effective, tool:
Acquiring New Skills
Sometimes building or attaining new skills will be necessary to delegate tasks. When this happens, it's a win-win scenario. This helps team members try new things, advance within their job, and grow within their career. Adding skills can also increase the self esteem of team members.
Expanding Team Value
As team members achieve new skills and delegate work throughout the group, the overall team's value increases. Furthermore, this encourages the growth of tribal knowledge within a team. This helps limit the impact of team members who are promoted, moved to other teams, or leave a company.
Delegation is an opportunity to empower others. Empowering team members provides an opportunity for team members to assume more responsibility. Additionally, empowerment is a sign of trust and confidence in a member's ability to manage a task on their own.
Trust is always an important attribute of any successful team. Trust cannot be taken; it must be given. Delegating different types of jobs to team members will require them to work with each other. This will naturally lend itself to opportunities where trust can be built between team members.
Allowing Skills To Shine
Some developers are natural public speakers (there are a few); others might be excellent organizers. Delegation provides an opportunity to display additional skills that might not be part of daily programming life. Providing this avenue can be invaluable for retaining seasoned team members.
Delegating work load will increase a team's efficiency. Sometimes this impact will be immediate, while other times (in the case of learning new skills) the team will receive benefits in the long-term. Additionally, as confidence grows, teams will seek out ways to become more efficient.
Although team confidence might be the goal of delegation, its results are far reaching. Delegating work is a guaranteed way to increase team satisfaction, properly motivate members, and help prevent team burnout. Sometimes the fast-paced nature of technology can blind people to only look forward for new ideas and approaches. Sometimes good ideas or approaches such as delegation already exist and simply need to be properly executed.