Managing a tech team

I manage a team of five developers. Two of them work on the UI, rest of them manage the backend and devops. I had hard time splitting the work between the developers and utilise the resources initially. I became a manager due to circumstances. During my initial days I had this conflict in my mind about the work. I just wanted to continue coding. And in fact I did that for a few months. Due to that work piled up. We missed quite a few deadlines. Something was obviously wrong. Or in our case someone was wrong. Me! I cared more about feeding my technical ego rather than taking up the new challenge.

At a point I realised, I have to let go of my dire need to be in control of everything. Obviously my colleagues are smart. They would figure out a solution for the problem that they are faced with. I won’t lie, it was really hard for me to let go. While assigning issues to them, coder inside me wanted to do it myself. But soon I started seeing the results.

My colleagues came up with brilliant solutions. Okay, so it was way better than what I had in my mind. That gave me confidence in my team and started assigning them more and more tasks. The nagging feeling that I had started going away. In fact I transitioned myself more into a mentor role where I would hear them out when they are stuck at something and provide feedback on their solution. I was able to focus on other things like experimenting with development practices, building culture etc. which lead to introducing pair programming, refactoring etc into our engineering practices.

Another thing that I did wrong was assigning technically challenging tasks to a particular developer. I realised it might be good for that developer, but I have a team and I am responsible to provide them equal oppurtunity to grow and contribute. So, I started distributing the challenging tasks in a fair manner. Though we slowed down a bit, it was required for the greater good. It helped boost confidence of my colleagues too.

Then there are the mundane stuffs that no one want to work on. Distributing it fair and square helped in getting it done without any burnout.

The whole team have come a long way and I am proud of the way things are now. Looking back, I feel I could have reached this point a bit earlier, but, like they say,

Better late than never!