The Non-Tech Problems Facing Tech Teams
3 weeks ago
Through my experience with various companies' tech teams over the years, I've observed a recurring pattern of non-technical issues that affect them. 

  1. Lack of Communication

Ironically, the very people that build these complex communications platforms struggle with effective communication themselves.

The objective of this communication lies in synchronizing knowledge, preemptively addressing issues, and fostering collaborative problem-solving. This proactive approach not only minimizes errors and redundancy but also uplifts team morale. By nurturing open communication channels, teams can navigate challenges with agility, efficiency, and shared inspiration.

Communicating to your employees that you do things differently from the outset is crucial and explaining that active engagement and contribution in the management processes is an expectation of the job. Ensure enforcement of this policy is upheld, take appropriate action when a team member is consistently silent in meetings. 

  1.  No Meeting minutes 

The more experience I gain in tech, ironically the more analog I'm becoming. Very few companies have any process in place to record each meeting with an agenda, discussion summary, decisions made, action items, follow up and conclusion. 

The objective of this is to simply keep track of what was agreed, by whom and when. Because let’s face it, we all forget. This record provides an opportunity to drastically improve communication and accountability within an organization. 

  1. Codebase Barriers  

Acronyms are extremely useful to be concise and shorten terms, but also at hiding the information from others who aren’t yet aware of the information. 

This is completely fine, if, when it comes to onboarding a new developer you have a beautiful glossary of terms that the new developer can consume with eager abandon. But let’s be honest, no such glossary exists, it rarely does. 

This is a perfect example of a barrier to a codebase, how is someone new regardless of experience supposed to contribute if they don’t have a solid context of what the current state is. In my experience there are many small barriers like this to understanding a new codebase. Get rid of them. 

  1. No feedback Loop 

Really, how productive and constructive are your retros? Do you even do them? 

Most companies have their own warped version of Agile. A lot of the time this means just going through the motions and not really engaging, most likely due to a lack of trust in decision makers to make any suggested changes or because employees are actively punished for speaking openly and honestly. 

A feedback loop is a way we can speed up the learning process and address discontent in a company. Address the pebbles on your path, and the boulders will find their own way. 

Cohesion is made up of taking care of a million small problems, a feedback loop is the only way we will even be made aware of them. 

While technical prowess is the hallmark of tech teams, it is often the non-technical issues that undermine their effectiveness and morale. Communication gaps, lack of proper documentation, barriers within the codebase, and the absence of a constructive feedback loop are recurring challenges.