Being a good software developer, or even a web developer, on a daily basis requires a variety of talents but it also requires a consistent plan-of-action. Often teams will be using some kind of project management software and will be using some development methodology, however, this normally only covers the processing of changes, defects and features leaving the other day-to-day tasks that a software developer will be involved with.
Every member of a software development team needs to genuinely enjoy their role, must be able to work with those around them, should not take short cuts to hurry completion, and must be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. Doesn’t sound too complicated does it?
Here are 8 simple tips developed through my own experience that will in time benefit you and the work you produce.
1) Develop A Process - Outline Your Tasks Daily!
When dealing with overwhelming tasks or extensive workloads it’s much less stressful to prioritise or dissect tasks into simple steps with completion times. This allows developers to problem solve and complete projects one-step at a time by using a laid out specific process. It will also provide a means to time various tasks and understand what can be accomplished in a day. The last thing I do before I leave the office on an evening is to write a simple list of tasks that I need to achieve the next day. This means that when I arrive in the office the next morning I can get started straight away at number one on the list and am focussed straight away on a simple task.
2) Focus, One Step at a Time.
Multitasking spreads an individual’s attention in many different directions often resulting in spending a lot of time on a lot of tasks but achieving fewer results. This leads to a defeatist attitude. Focusing and completing duties one-step at a time allows more work to be completed and a greater sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. Once individuals have a baseline idea of how much time specific tasks require they will be better able to manage and configure their day. If you are using project management software ensure that you are leaving time spare in the day for your employees to take care of their other ad-hock duties.
3) Get Personal - Produce Quality Work
Take the time to do everything necessary so future changes will not be required, it helps if you really care about what you’re doing. Code should be easily comprehended, easily read and have a defined purpose. Be consistent with coding standards. Logic and code should be flawless, concise and not require improvement. Refactor the code one last time before you check it in. An hour spent perfecting now will save countless hours later.
4) Stay Focused, Always!
Stay focused on the task from the beginning, starting with development, progressing to testing and then implementation. Focus on all aspects individually until project completion.
5) Do Not Let Problems Hinder Completion or your Faith.
When faced with a roadblock, try and devise a simple temporary alternative to the problem and most importantly, ask for help from your peers, they probably know. Notate that the problem will require future attention but do not stop the project to solve the issue.
6) Work with your Team
When a team work on custom software development only in a rare instances will everyone agree about everything, which is great if you think about it. Web & software developers must learn when to speak up and when to remain silent and let others have their say. Things may take a wrong turn providing many opportunities to express solutions and ideas for resolution. Persons can learn much by listening to others and taking the best ideas from various sources to arrive at the best solution.
7) Relax, Manage the Environmental Stress
An individual who understands what they can and cannot control is a person who is alleviating tension. Genuinely enjoying the work that one performs will naturally produce quality results. If environmental stressors impede performance and take the joy out of the job then it may be time for a change.
8) Research! Keep yourself Sharp!
Someone just like you probably has done it before and there’s a world wide web of information, bad pun I know, out there for you. Even though you probably specialise in just a handful of technologies in your daily job take time to look what else is out there. Spend a bit of time playing with other frameworks, languages or development environments. There are some excellent magazines such as MSDN and .NET which have great articles to keep you in the loop with regard to new developments in the industry.