Startup Skills: How to manage Technical Team | Jerry M. | Skillshare

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Startup Skills: How to manage Technical Team

teacher avatar Jerry M., Career Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Challenges

    • 3. Understanding your role

    • 4. Knowing what to focus on

    • 5. Establishing process and product standards

    • 6. Enforcing business processes

    • 7. Balancing stakeholder needs

    • 8. Understanding your team's strengths

    • 9. Supporting flexible work habits

    • 10. Clarifying goals for your team

    • 11. Allowing for team and individual performance

    • 12. Evaluating your management style

    • 13. Developing your competencies

    • 14. Managing activities

    • 15. Conclusion

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About This Class

Welcome to this course. Since you are dealing with highly skilled workers, it is important for you to focus on WHAT needs to be accomplished, rather than HOW to accomplish goals. Other critical skills include knowing your role and what decisions to make, balancing the needs of your stakeholders and customers while allowing for creativity within your team, supporting and rewarding differing creative styles, and much more. This course also includes a model for dividing, tracking, and sharing the accomplishments of your team.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jerry M.

Career Coach


Jerry is a Certified Career Coach and Resume Writer with a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management. For over sixteen years he worked in employment and training programs helping hundreds of individuals reach their career goals.

Jerry offers courses in business and career development. His courses focus on areas like Linkedin, freelancing, job search, and career change. If you have any questions or would like to send a message, feel free contact him through the Skillshare messaging system.

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1. Welcome: this course provides hints and tips for managing the varying business objectives that could come your way. Is a technical manager in addition to helping you with common approaches and pitfalls when managing technical personnel, we'll start by defining the characteristics of a technical team and then describe what you can do to successfully fulfill the role of technical team manager. I'll give you hints and tips about how you should spend your time and how you can manage the time of your technical team. We'll talk about the importance of deploying standards and also when standards should be flexible. I will then describe approaches you can use to balance the needs of your customers, even when those needs aren't always in sync. Next, I will describe how you can best support your team and identify the strength of your team members. Lastly, we'll explore ways you can evaluate your own management style. Develop your own competencies in both the technical and managerial areas. I'll introduce you to these tools and techniques and managing technical teams 2. Challenges : I recently had to purchase a new laptop, I went into a large computer retail store and was greeted by a store attendant. I wasn't looking for a lot of advice, so I explained to him what I wanted. A simple, easy to use basic laptop. Instead of showing me the products that fit my criteria, he tried to impress me with his knowledge by asking me, Ah, lot of technical questions. Frustrated, I ended up walking out and buying my laptop in another store. With your technical efforts, you want to avoid creating frustration between the technical team and your customer. A good place to start is by getting to know your technical team members. You might find that they use a lot of jargon. Technical team members contend to use jargon filled language when talking to each other, but with others that technical jargon may leave people feeling like they're visiting another country. Rather than attending a meeting down the hall. Ask technical team members to explain things during meetings so that everybody, including you, can understand fully. Having a glossary of technical terms can also be helpful. Technical team members don't always consider the needs of other people in the business. They sometimes focus on their role in the technical environment without riel consideration of the roles of other team members. Technical team members air typically very interested in the parts of the environment where they're knowledgeable, it involved. However, sometimes they neglect to get involved in areas beyond their scope of responsibility, even when their knowledge can be very helpful. Having technical team members understand the goals of the business is important. With that understanding, you can harness their creative power to generate solutions to problems you otherwise would miss. Technical team members are subject to great demands. Often your technical team members are experts shared over a number of projects and initiatives. This means your needs come some times. Get a lower priority toe high profile projects. Being aware of the demands on your technical team members is important. Ensure you speak to the project managers so that you understand when and where your technical team members air needed. Finally watch for a focus on perfection. Your technical team members can spend a lot of time trying to get things perfect in doing so they can design something that, while technically perfect, does not fit the required business process again. Having technical team members thoroughly understand the goals of the business can be helpful during the resolution of one issue. A perfection mentality can create temptation to continue fixing other things at the same time. Sometimes it may be prudent to do so, but often this can lead to complications. Watching for these common technical team characteristics and coaching them can help you manage your technical team members more effectively. Your coaching can promote a better understanding of the role of your team and enables them to expand their impact on your business. 3. Understanding your role: Have you ever been to a dinner party with a group of people who began talking about another event which you didn't attend or a movie you haven't seen? He could be very difficult to feel. Part of the conversation, because you don't have the same level of knowledge, is everybody else. Managers of technical teams can sometimes feel this way if they don't have the same technical expertise is their team members. That is because managers of technical teams were required to spend the majority of their time operating at the tactical level rather than being focused solely on technical detail. As a manager operating at the tactical level, you need to channel your interest in understanding the business and technical trends that might impact your department. You're concerned with how to respond to the demands placed on your technical teams. You manage budgets and ensure technical deliver. Bles are produced in accordance with estimates for cost and schedule. This tactical focus could be very interesting or very frustrating, particularly if you were once producing technical delivery. Bols yourself. The emphasis, focus and skills required toe work as a technical manager are very different from those of a technical team member. The adjustment can be very stressful. So as part of being a manager of technical team members versus being a technician yourself , here are a few tips to help you along. First developed trust in your technical experts all how the experts to determine the best way to do things their approaches might be different from what you would do. So try and be patient and understand that the best way for them to accomplish things is the way that's most comfortable for them, not necessarily the most comfortable for you. Second, focus on outcomes be focused on ensuring you are clear on what has to be achieved. To meet your customers need third focus on eliminating obstacles that may hinder your team from accomplishing their tasks. And sure they have the tools and training they need. If you have relevant experience from your time is a technical team member. Share that experience, However, don't insist your team mirror your own history. Let them use your experience and build upon it for themselves. Good technical managers asked good questions such as Have you done this before? Does my team know enough about the business and environment to make their approach, your ideas fit. Are there inconsistencies surfacing in their ideas or deliverables that can introduce risk , such as unconfirmed assumptions? Does my team have enough details about what the business wants or needs? Here's an example. Let's say your team is manufacturing cars and the business asked them to make the car safer for pedestrians. By making the hood more flexible upon impact, someone might come up with what seems like a great idea. Like let's start making the hood from more flexible aluminum jumping in and starting. This might achieve the objective of making the car safer for pedestrians. But that is not the sole purpose of a car. We may end up causing greater problems. There are other considerations that we would need to look at. The hood still needs to provide crush zones for the passengers and also must protect the engine. So to create a solution that not only makes the car safer for pedestrians but also protects the passengers and the engine, we need to find a balance point, clear assumptions. Getting the details and thinking through actions to prevent inconsistencies is your role as the technical manager not to know everything about the technology. That way you can produce that car that everyone is happy with, 4. Knowing what to focus on: Have you ever heard the saying It's all about balance sometimes is about balancing short term versus long term activities. Other times it can be about spending money now and balancing that with the potential cost of spending money later with technical teams. The balancing game consists of having your teamwork on technical solutions versus spending time. Working with the businesses you support toe understand their needs when managing a technical team, technical needs and desires and the requirements of managing a business can run on a collision course. Understanding where to focus is important. It's all about ensuring focuses on producing the best technological solutions but also ensuring their pragmatic and can be easily used by your customer. Where to focus can be very tricky because your technical team members probably have a lot of knowledge about your organization, systems and processes and therefore can propose creative solutions to problems. Ah, good technical manager knows that he or she must encourage and support that creative problem solving talent. Sometimes, however, a technical team member may propose a solution that focuses too heavily on technical elements, and it may not appear to work well for the business as a technical manager. You will have to make some decisions about whether to jump in to fix this situation or allow your team member to continue to progress their ideas. Here are some questions to ask before determining whether or not to jump in. Is this technical team member familiar with the specific technology they're working on? Is this team member familiar with how that technology is being used by the business? Does the proposed solution fit with the overall architecture of the system? Does the proposed solution fit with the overall direction being taken by the business? Is it possible to alter current business processes easily to make the solution work effectively? If the answers to the above questions air? Yes, you should encourage your team member to proceed and help manage the change management concerns that may surface with the business. It's all about intent. If you cannot answer yes to the questions I have posed, you need to adjust the focus of your team member to do this kindly and clearly inform the technical team member of your concerns and persuade him or her to look for another solution . This helps prevent mismatches between your technical teams, ideas and what is pragmatic for your customer. If you find mismatches surfacing frequently, encourage and support your technical team members to spend time working with the business toe, understand their processes and requirements more thoroughly. By taking the focus off the technical solution and putting it on the processes and requirements of the business, your team's technical solutions will improve in the long run. So sometimes not focusing on technical solutions is the best way to create better technical solutions. A final note about helping your team focus on the business as well as their technology. Your communication style is important to ensure the messages delivered effectively. Ah, fine balance will be required to ensure the technical team member feels valued and supported, and that the best solution for the business is produced. Emphasize that business knowledge provides background, which can elevate and expand their importance to the business. This gives you the means to focus your efforts and the efforts of your team to ensure the business consistently benefits from the solutions you produce. Now that's a goal that deserves your focus 5. Establishing process and product standards: If you've ever watched a child eat a cupcake, you would know that they tend to eat the frosting first. Why? Because that's the good bit. On the other hand, adults tend to take a bite of both cake and frosting together to achieve balance. Sometimes technical team members really enjoy the fund technical bits of a project. Such is developing a creative solution while tending the neglect some of the more mundane tasks associated with it, like the documentation or product reviews. However, it is the balance between these creative and administrative tasks that makes your team the most effective. Administrative tests are necessary to facilitate the support of teams such as testing and maintenance. Documentation of quality assurance activities is required to ensure testing can be completed. A technical product review may involve having someone else read some application code and critique its structure. It could be showing somebody else the mock up of a screen, or it could be showing somebody how to manage the controls on a piece of robotics. Good technical team management is about making sure you have covered the administrative tasks as well as the creative tasks. Here are some tips for focusing on the administrative tasks without making the processes and standard so burdensome that it stifles the creativity of your technical team. Members use the administration now approach administrative tasks have a way of being left until later as technical team members focus on the creative technical work. The problem with that is that often the administrative work never gets done. As a result, your project ends up with no documentation or no product review. Information insist that the administrative tasks are completed. Is the team progress through its tasks, where the other team shoes have the technical team work with people from other teams so they understand how important the administrative tasks are to them? If you're technical Team has produced a new piece of customer relationship management software, have them work with help desk staff who will be using the software. Had the technical team be part of the overall solution implementation, not just the product itself. Find the balance point. Make your expectations for the administrative task clear, but allow your team members to be part of the decision making for processes and standards that there then expected to adhere to. Consider hiring a technical writer if your project requires a lot of technical writing. A specialist to produce this product may be required as a rule of thumb. I don't expect my technical team to spend more than 15% of their time on documentation as it reduces their creative capability. Consider hiring a business analysts. They can be useful in helping to integrate changes into the business. Consider hiring a trainer. Just because you're technical Team knows the product doesn't mean they have the skills to teach others how to use it. There are specialist skills associated with teaching and learning, such as adapting teaching strategies, toe learning styles. However, your technical team should play a role in the preparation of training materials and supporting the business until the change is fully implemented. Set clear boundaries and established communication standards ensure the entire team is working from the same information and team members are interpreting things consistently. With work of the technical team is about producing a product that is not just technically sound but also capable of fulfilling the longer term business needs. You can have a great technical tool, but without a manual to teach staff how to use it, it won't be helpful coaching your technical team in this way helps ensure that your team and your customers get a bit of cake and frosting with the products you create. 6. Enforcing business processes: Voltaire is credited with saying perfection is the enemy of good enough. Perfection implies that there is no degree of error that is acceptable, whereas good enough implies that what you have is usable or, in other words, fit for the purpose you require. While we should strive to be more than just good enough, perfection is usually an unreasonable goal. And no matter how good your organization is that what it does, you should never assume that its systems and processes can be perfect. Technical team members can and should have some form of perfection in mind as they enjoy the art of creating innovative solutions to business problems. The fun part of their job is making these improvements happen. Although a perfection mindset is good to a point, there can be a temptation to achieve perfection at the expense of other important tasks, such as documentation and missing deadlines. The mundane task of documenting technical work is typically put off until later. The trouble is later never comes. If you're technical team is in the middle of their creative work, it may be wise to allow them to continue unabated. However, the purposeful delay of documentation should Onley be accepted when there are systems in place to ensure it does actually happen later and does not become for gotten as a good technical manager, you should enforce business process while minimising its impact on positive creative processes your team may use. There are times, however, when certain processes air not negotiable and need to be enforced. To determine this, you need to ask, Is the process and the outcome mandated, or regulatory or just the outcome? Sometimes the outcome is regulatory, but the process is used to achieve that outcome or not. The preparation and filing of your income tax return is a regulatory outcome, but there are many different ways of achieving that outcome than or not regulatory. You might prepare your own income tax return, or you might engage the services of an accountant to prepare your income tax return on your behalf. In contrast to this, sometimes both the process and the outcome or regulatory, for example, when testing a new drug, there is a prescriptive process that pharmaceutical companies must follow to produce an outcome. So sometimes the process and the outcome or both regulatory, but sometimes just the out commas mandatory and the process is flexible. As a technical manager, this is important to keep in mind. You should seek to strike a balance between allowing people to have flexibility in the process, while not allowing them to bypass certain non negotiable approaches because they simply want to take a shortcut if the processes can be flexible. And sure, you allocate time for people to focus on the most important outcomes and perform other supporting tests, such as documenting their approach later. Most organizations have changed management processes, which usually required documentation of the change before it is implemented, as well as justification of the change, an assessment of its impact on business processes. These should be followed, but how to develop those change artifacts convey Ari One thing to keep in mind. However, in emergency support situations, standard and reasonable business processes can sometimes be bypassed to enable fast resolution of an emergency issue like a broken I T application. When something is broken, you may need to bypass the change management process and invoke an emergency process which allows for documentation to be produced after the urgent issue is resolved. This should only be done where there is very good reason to do so, and not just when people are attempting to circumvent change management processes. If an organization has 20% of its change being handled, his emergency changes this indicates something is broken. Emergencies should be a low percentage of your team's work, so look at your processes. Focus on the outcomes you need and what is mandated by your company or the law and produce what is good enough. First, then take a step toward perfection if and only if it's reasonable to do so. 7. Balancing stakeholder needs: when creating technical products to solve a business problem. There is often more than one solution available to us. The solution we choose needs to be based on the requirements of our customers. Usually, people have some idea of what they want and don't want. The problem is, so does everybody else, and they don't always agree. The saying goes. I can offer three approaches to a product good, cheap and fast. Pick any two. The point of this quote is that at times we will receive conflicting direction, needs or requirements from our customers. When your customer's requirements are in conflict, your technical team will need to find balance. Let's take a car, for example. There may be a set of requirements for the door. The customer wants the door to be light enough that it could be open and closed easily. But they also wanted to be reinforced enough to provide some protection from side impact. In addition, they wanted to make a solid sound when they close it because that makes them feel safe. By making the door from a lighter material, it could be open and closed more easily, but the sound the door makes when it closes, its lest reassuring, and the lighter material offers an inferior level of protection from side impact. If the door was made from a heavier material, the sound the door makes when it closes is more reassuring, and the heavier material offers a superior level of protection from side impact. But the door is harder to open and close. So how do you approach this? I suggest the quality function, deployment or Q F D approach represented by a clever one page graphic called The House of Quality. Let me share the objectives of Q FT first by describing the House of Quality Graphic Q. F d helps you do some fundamental thing. Highlight customer requirements. Ensure your technical team is focused on a specific business outcome or a short set of customer outcomes. Summarizing your full requirements set into a few concise statements can be revealing for your customer and help you set direction for your team. Identify the characteristics of your proposed solution. This helps keep your technical team from creating things that aren't needed and helps your customer picture what you're creating to satisfy their needs. Identify the relationships between customer requirements and your solution characteristics we show this on the roof of the Q F D graphic. This is vital for a couple of reasons. First, it confirms that what you're producing in your work alliance with your customers needs. Second, it helps you easily demonstrate when you have received requirements that could present competing priorities. Here I have symbols for compatible, unrelated and potential conflict. Resolving these competing priorities is based on importance ratings in the House of Quality . Because these ratings give you and your customer perspective on the critical nature of each requirement in the event conflicts exist. With your requirements, you can use the importance ratings to develop a solution that satisfies the most important requirements for your customer. Using Q F D can be very powerful because the approach represented by the House of Quality Control your customer. Ah, lot of information without requiring pages of text in a world where it can be difficult to confirm if your proposed solution will meet your customer's requirements, this can be a lifesaver 8. Understanding your team's strengths: If you've ever watched a game of tennis, you would know that some players like to play the baseline where they have more time to react to the shots of their opponent. However, other players like to play at the net where they have less time to react but can play shots more quickly, providing less time for their opponent to get in a position to return the ball. The best tennis players are those who know their own strengths and play accordingly. When managing a technical team, it is important to remember where your team's strengths lie in order for them to be the most effective. Let's take two technical people with identical skill sets. They know the systems in the process is being used by the business. Both have been given an objective to improve the efficiency of the current process by 20%. But these two technical people have a different working style. One is good at modifying while the other is good at creating. The key strength of one of these team members is to take the process that currently exists and creatively find ways to save time by making amendments and adjustments. In contrast, if you were to give that person a blank sheet of paper is a means of improving a process. He or she might stare at it for days. However, your other team member has a key strength in creating something new entirely. He or she would look at the requirements of the business and would prefer to create a new process from scratch. They would start with a blank piece of paper. He or she would then compare their new process to the existing one. Some people like to start fresh because they feel restricted by the existing environment. If they're given something to amend or adjust, one is not better than the other. They just have different strengths. The key is to determine the key strengths of your technical team members so that you can channel them into different assignments that suit their strengths and ensure you team people up appropriately. It can also be useful to get to different perspectives by utilizing the strengths of both. You can do this by observing the way they respond to a challenge. Do they ask for the current process and scribble their amendments over it, or do they go straight from the requirements and start sketching a new plan on a blank page . In addition to determining the creativity strength of your team members, there is another strength aspect to examine. That is the way they prefer toe approach work. In general, people have a tendency to approach work with one of four different preferences. They are action oriented. These people focus on what has to be done and what they have to build team oriented. These people focus on who is saying what, who they will be working with and who has the knowledge they require. They prefer group interaction to gather the views and opinions of others planning oriented . These people focus on the steps involved and what the right sequence of events should be. Analysis oriented. These people focus on the alternatives, and the pros and cons of each listen to the questions your team is asking. Their response to assignments you give them can help you understand their preferred approach. By understanding how people like to work, you can ensure your own tennis players are rallying together in harmony and consistently scoring points 9. Supporting flexible work habits: I worked on a project once with an interesting character named Eddie. He was a nice guy, but he had difficulty getting toe our team meetings on time. I called Eddie aside one day and asked him why he was always late in the morning, he explained. I have three daughters I can never get into the bathroom. I was tempted to suggest that he might look into buying a house with a second bathroom, but I suspected the real reason why Eddie was always late was because he wasn't a morning person. Your technical team is likely to have individuals like Eddie experts who have their own unique way of doing things. Technical people are frequently highly creative. That is what makes them able to devise solutions to complex business problems. Being the manager of a technical team means encouraging that creativity while still maintaining focus on your business objectives. You can encourage creativity by enabling flexible work habits to get the most out of your technical team. Some tips include allow flexible work hours, allowed team members to start later and work later or start earlier and finish earlier according to their own personal preferences. So long as that is not disruptive to team goals. Technical team members are often required to provide off our support or provide emergency response overnight support, which could also contribute to their need for flexible work hours. Consider nonstandard office layouts. Some people almost need a soundproof booth toe work effectively, while others would rather have a team around them. While we rarely Congar to these extremes, do your best to allow people to make workspace choices that best suit their work style. The use of equipment such as headsets can also give people a bit of their own space. Lastly, consider ergonomic furniture, including stand up desks, support a less conservative dress code. Some people need to express their creativity and their clothing, for example, if possible, you may want to ease up on the requirements to wear a tie in the office. At other times, apply practical considerations to the dress code. I currently work on a project where my office is in an airplane hangar. A different dress code will be required in that workplace. Then, in a customer showcase center, people need to be given the flexibility to adapt to their surroundings. Lastly, focus on what has to be done rather than on how something is done. Allow people to use their own work style to generate results. Measure their performance based on those results and not on the work style they used to generate them. Let's talk about a couple of other tips. Has the manager It's your role to inspire further conversation amongst your team and Onley . Make a directive decision when absolutely required. First asked for creativity from your technical team in dealing with business rules, they may just come up with viable solutions to balance conformance with the need to produce results. There's a fine balance that needs to be achieved between letting individuals do their own thing and not giving special preference toe one individual over another. Whatever you allow, ensure that your even handed fair and tied to the objectives of corporate standards, it's important to be purposeful and consistent in your approach. When you do this, you'll enjoy a team that is more committed to success and not losing focus before the game is won 10. Clarifying goals for your team: If you have ever coached a Children's sports team, you would know that maintaining focus can be an issue for most Children. Everybody starts out with the goal in mind, but sometimes a few begin to daydream as the game goes on. It is the coach's job to help keep everybody focused. Managing a project's technical team is similar. It needs goals that are clearly defined and kept in the forefront at all times. This helps to avoid the day dreaming or drift away from purpose that can sometimes occur with adults, too. A technical team is made up of people who know the ins and outs of the system they're working on, and because of that, they can provide significant insight to complex problems. Of course, we don't want to suppress this. We want to promote it. The right balance of system and business knowledge is needed. However, let's say you have some technical experts who were senior members on your team. They know the system very well. Having worked in every single module over the time it's been in operation, they have the experience to understand the best way from information and work to flow from one area to another. This is valuable information to enhance the efficiency of the business as well as efficiency of the system itself. Given that information, your team suggests a solution and pushes an agenda. Because you're technical. Team members are not living in the business area. They may not be aware of a change that occurred in that area recently. The solution they propose may address 90% of what the customer needs in the current environment, but the other 10% it's going to create difficulties when managing a technical team. You want to be able to take on the valuable information provided by your technical experts . But you also need to emphasize the need to validate changes that have occurred in the business since the last time they worked in that area are on that module. So encourage or technical people to suggest easier ways of doing things, encourage their thorough understanding of the system and its underlying capabilities, and give them a voice to make recommendations. This is very important for the business and the morale of your technical team members. However, as you do this balance, these recommendations with the goals of the project at hand and the overall business you support, ensure most of your technical teams effort continues to be focused on any technical changes that need to be made. However, while doing so, encourage your team to validate business considerations before making recommendations, so their input is viewed positively by guiding your team's focus on the project and overall business objectives, you will ensure your technical team members understand the broader view, not just the narrow view of what needs to be accomplished with a given change. From the system standpoint, this will keep them focused on the bigger purpose for your business as well as the integrity of your technical systems. 11. Allowing for team and individual performance: managing a technical team could be a bit like playing in a jazz band. Good jazz bands know how to play together, laying down a great groove. But what makes them most interesting is when that great groove combines with individual riffs, which make for a rich and colorful listening experience. The improvisation of the solo players, backed up by a solid and familiar groove, adds variety and allows for the greatest creativity for the ban and their listeners. However, too much groove and it gets boring. Too much improv, and it sounds chaotic. Bands need good balance, technical teams need good balance is well, and that balance appears in two ways. First, there needs to be balanced between leveraging the abilities and capabilities of each team member with a devotion toe, lending their personal expertise to your team's products. Although individual effort is typically involved, technical team members need to work together as a productive team to make sure their individual pieces come together to make an efficient and effective technical product. If in this teeming process, dominating personalities or just do it my way attitude surface, this conf throw your team out of balance. If left unchecked, this could result in the loss of critical, skilled team members. Second, many technical team members do their best work when working on their own versus contributing to a team solution. Playing their own riff if you will, Working on a team project can be less fulfilling, with prolonged team projects leading to dissatisfaction and the potential loss of a critical skilled resource. Maintaining appropriate balance with these two conflicting expectations can be quite tricky . So here are a few tips to help you out. Determined the work preferences of your team members. The only way to do this is toe. Ask them directly. Listen carefully to their answers, however, as they often will not be a definitive. I like to work alone or I like working on team projects. Often balance is the key for your team members as well, which actually can be very helpful. Focus on cross training as many team members like toe work A soloists. It's not uncommon for technical managers to find themselves with only one person with skills or experience in a given technology or with a certain aspect of their technical products. Don't become one of these managers. Most team members will enjoy the challenge of learning and supporting other areas of your business as a result of cross training, you can have one person service back up for another. If demands increase, or you find yourself with a team member who gets sick or leaves your area, look for opportunities for in house sabbaticals for your team members that have a strong preference toe work alone. Try to find solo projects within your department that will give them the expressive, creative opportunity to produce their own products. Where that is not feasible. Look for other opportunities outside your department, where a unique project could be valuable. It might create difficulties for you is a department leader. But the impact of that sabbatical against losing a critical skill to another company may be worth it. Lastly, don't allow yourself to be held hostage. If you become too accommodating to the desires of your team members, your team and your overall department performance can suffer. Team members can develop a resentment toe. What they may perceive is an imbalance, as some team members are treated as special, although the impact of that critically skilled team member leaving may cause pain in the long run an ongoing lack of fairness perceived by your team can be much worse. So as a technical team leader, be flexible on accommodating when you can. But make sure you maintain balance with individual and team based work. Do that, and your technical team will consistently lay down a wicked groove. 12. Evaluating your management style: accepting the role of technical team manager is a great opportunity for your career. You may have been offered this position because of your technical ability or your consistent achievement of performance targets. But being a technical team manager is not without its challenges, especially if you have great technical skills. But you've not had the opportunity to gain much management experience along the way. Many technical team manager struggle because they continue to focus on the technical aspects of their work while ignoring the support needed by their team and how they can provide that support effectively. Being a good technical manager means understanding what your team needs from you and adapting your style to those needs. Although you may have been appointed to a technical team management role because of your ability to apply technical skills, those tools that got you to the top are not necessarily the tools you need to use. Now that you're a manager, thinking back to your early career can provide you with some insight as to the tools you need to use. Now that you're a manager, what did you want from your manager? Those are the things you probably need to ensure you are doing. What didn't you want from your manager? Those are the things you need to ensure you are not doing or, if so, Onley when you absolutely feel you need to. Here are some management approaches you can consider as you evaluate your management style . Stick to guiding and directing. Not doing. I once worked for a technical manager who is a genuinely nice guy and love to be helpful. He thought he was doing a fantastic job of supporting his technical team, but whenever anyone and the team had a problem, they would not approach him. For one simple reason. He took over. When somebody just wanted a little guidance, he would step in and help them design the entire solution. The team members hated this approach because they felt he was telling them what to do and how to do it. There may be times when it's a technical team manager. You may have to step in and provide extra guidance to your team members, but this should be the exception rather than the rule. Communicate with your team. Ask your team about their support needs. What do they want and just is importantly, what do they not want? Discover the ways your team likes to communicate and adapt your communication style to suit your team. Clearly share what your expectations are for your team's work and keep your team up to date is to their progress. Select the right team. Ensure you have the people with the right skills to perform the work. If you find gaps in the skills of your team, members address them. It isn't always just skills you need to consider. However, it can be style as well. For instance, some people work well together, while others do not find the best fit for your team. Whenever you can seek to motivate and delegate, discover what motivates people on your team and use this information to build enthusiasm and commitment to work. As part of this ensure, you are empowering your technical team members to make appropriate decisions. Don't keep performing tasks that are no longer your responsibility. Get a mentor, find somebody that you respect and trust to be your mentor. Making the leap to management is a big change. It's OK to seek some help, and lastly, take it one step at a time. Don't try to learn everything about managing a technical team all at once. Learn and master one new skill at a time. By following these techniques, you can ensure your promotion to technical team manager is the great opportunity you had hoped it would be. 13. Developing your competencies: there is an old saying. You don't know what you don't know. This is very true. It's not possible to fix a problem or to improve the situation. If you don't know that problem exists or that situation needs fixing. The key is to find out what is missing so you could devise an effective solution. Sometimes is a technical team manager you will find you don't have the same level of technical expertise. Is your team members. I'm going to share some tips with you for gauging the level of technical expertise you require to help you to manage your team in areas that are new to you. First, let's start with the most obvious way to build new skills. Traditional training. You may require a degree of traditional training to develop new skills in order to be familiar with the technology your team members are deploying. This will enable you to engage more effectively with your team on the solutions they're proposing and why they have been proposed. There is a range of traditional training options available, including full degree programmes, short courses, webinars and even lynda dot com videos. Second, you may be able to train yourself this may be appropriate when you were determining how the business uses the technology your team is working on. Understand what the technology is used for, understand who is using the technology and in what circumstances understand what the output of the program or solution looks like. Getting a thorough understanding of how your team's delivery will support the overall objectives of your business will allow you to better understand your team's role in achieving business results. Third, be curious about your technical team. Your own team may have tools they used to work on delivery Bols they produce for the business, such as code builders. Are test management software. Ask about the tools they use in order to do their work? How did they use thumb? Ask about the history of the technical tools they use. What's easy forum What's difficult for them? Finally, observe your technical team. Listen to the questions they asked to determine their approach. The problem solving and how they work together focus on the areas of the business they see is important, and areas that are of lesser concern seek to understand why that is the case and assess whether their focus is an accurate assessment of business priority or is coming about as a result of a lack of business knowledge. Your competency is a technical manager is not just restricted by your technical prowess. It can often be more heavily influenced by your understanding of how technology is deployed . Understanding where the deployment of your technical solutions is easy and where it is awkward can be useful. This knowledge can propel your value to your technical team and the overall business. Knowing how your team operates, what tools they use for their work and how the business applies your technology can expand your effectiveness. This knowledge will allow you to more effectively manage. The resource is budgets and other tactical management considerations of your role. You won't ever know everything, but the things you don't know that you don't know will shrink quickly, and that can help you gain the respect of your technical team members 14. Managing activities: I've developed an observation based on my experience working as a technical manager. The best technical people understand that many of their decisions have broad implications for the businesses they support. Let me explain. Not every decision you make will have a large impact on your business, but a good number of them can. Technology has become a big part of our everyday business and personal lives. Because of this, the technology decisions you make and the technical products delivered by your team can have a pervasive and long lasting impact on the capabilities and efficiency of your organization. So it's appropriate that you analyze and assess your decisions against the short and long term needs and concerns of your customers to ensure their viability. There are three types of activities that provide care and feeding to your technical products to keep them viable. First, our run activities. There are a series of daily maintenance set up an administrative activities that need to be performed to ensure business value is delivered from your technical solutions. Although not always performed by your technical team directly, these activities need focus to ensure they can be performed easily. In addition, any issues with These run elements usually need to be addressed quickly as they can hamper your customer's ability to use your technical products. Second are maintained activities, maintenance activities, air typically a bit more elaborate and time consuming than run activities. An example of this would be upgrading a software solution from one version to another, the's air necessary to expand available features or keep up to date with other changes, such as operating system upgrades. These activities air needed to ensure your technical products have the flexibility to work at maximum efficiency or in different environments. Lastly, are change activities. These are substantial transformations, expansions or upgrades to the capabilities of your technical products. Adding capabilities to existing technical products. Producing new technical products to incorporate into your customers environment or creating novel ways to use your existing products in a different way are examples of change activities. One of the key elements of these three activity types is the mix of attention you and your team applied to each of them. By placing too much focus on your run activities, you can overlook the change activities needed to ensure your technical products do not become obsolete. In contrast, by placing too much focus on change activities. You can end up with disgruntled customers who start to have difficulties using your products to produce their work on a daily basis. So to ensure you keep your strategic and day to day activities and balance. Here are a few things you may want to consider. Work with your management team to determine the appropriate balance. Setting a goal such as dedicating no more than 25% of your staff's time to run activities and dedicating at least 30% of your staff's time to change activities ensures that you are focusing on both the day to day and longer term needs of those who use your technical products. The's objectives may change from business to business and his technical products age, so consider these when proposing your balance goals for run, maintain and change activities. Perform analysis When your business needs push your goals out of balance. If responding to business needs cause you to significantly alter your goals, this could be a signal that you have viability problems with your product. For example, having to spend a lot of time on run activities may mean the environment has changed and your technical product might be losing its capability to perform efficiently. Lastly, challenge the status quo Over time. Technical teams get gettinto habits around the work they produce. The balance goals at work two years ago may be suboptimal Now. Challenge your balance goals every 18 months. Focusing on the nature of the work you produce and ensuring you balance your team's activities can help you optimize your contribution to your business. 15. Conclusion: managing different types of technical teams is the best way to build your technical management experience. Every team is different in the dynamics of the technology, combined with the personalities and creative approach of team members. Will challenge you in a variety of ways until you get that opportunity to manage different teams. I suggest offering to buy coffee, further technical managers and spend the time understanding what issues they're facing and how they're handling them. I wish you luck as you tackle the challenges and celebrate the rewards of managing your technical team. Remember, keep things balanced, be flexible when you can, and try to foster the creativity of your team. Do this well and you're likely to propel your team your business. Hand yourself.