How to Lead a Software Development Team



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How to Lead a Software Development Team

Your project manager just called and told you that the application you’re developing is delayed; just yesterday, you were assured everything was on track, and you’ve already been talking to funders about the product’s potential.

What do you do? Do you sit back in a show of blind faith in your team and trust that the software will get back on track? How do you assess if the team can deliver the application you are looking for or if more delays follow?

Many companies start with the concepts in “The Flow’s” four-phase cycle approach to quickly assess the situation. The flow is described in this video by Steven Kotler.

The flow breaks the development work into four phases

1. The Struggle

This stage is where tasks are challenging and confusing, requiring extra concentration.

2. Release

The release phase is when you move out of the struggle phase. You let go of the complexity and try to get tasks done. We notice this phase when we have identified a path, and we’re just starting to work down it. The inner critic settles, and your focus switches to trying to accomplish tasks.

3. Flow

Once you realize the prerequisites to flow, you’ll find yourself here more often! Time starts to disappear, and your focus, solution understanding, and productivity are at their highest. This is the flow state.

4. Recovery

Recovery comes when you slip out of the flow. Your ability to solve problems slows down, and you become less productive. Things like bugs or other complexities begin to show up more often. Unfortunately, it won’t be long until struggle arrives again, and the cycle continues.

Together, these processes foster the rhythms that help you and your teams spend more time in the flow.

Once you have assessed where the team currently is you need to develop appropriate processes to get the project back on track and ensure the appropriate early warning systems are in place to achieve your plan by your due date.

The five steps to be able to sleep at night:

Assess The Team

Based on the reason for missing the deadline, assess your team. Do you have enough developers and programmers? Do you have the skill sets you require?

Contingency Planning

Team assessments are complex, and we usually want to err on the side of our team. We want to believe that things will get better, even when we have our doubts. If you proceed with your current team intact, now is the time to determine your options and create a backup plan. This can include hiring more people, hiring contractors, or a hybrid.

Shorter Development Cycles

We have found the best results with the two-week sprint format because it hones the team in on specific, nitty-gritty, manageable deliverables. Sprints are where the development work actually happens.

Connect the Sprint Cycles

We connect three sprints linked by a theme and set of goals. You can see how much easier product management becomes when we think in clearly-defined and manageable chunks of time. This strategy offers the incredible benefit of delivering high value every six weeks.

Build Trust and Confidence Through Transparency

Project management tools are available to team members and stakeholders, plus “check-ins” at the end of every sprint or cycle keeps everyone on the same page.


No one plans for project delays; sound systems and processes will help entrepreneurs achieve their desired results by utilizing progress reports at short intervals to confirm expected results or offer early detection of potential problems. With good processes and good contingency planning up front, you have the best chance for success.

About Augusto Digital

At Augusto, we help clients succeed with digital transformation and custom software solutions. We offer consulting, software development, UX design & application management. We specialize in AI, mobile, web, IoT, data, analytics & dashboards. In addition, we are experts in Healthcare and Health Tech. 

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