Being a team-player is a valued individual characteristic sought by many different companies across many different industries. In the IT industry, many employers look for this characteristic in prospective hires. Many companies even give employees some time off for team building just to develop this one trait among teams specifically. But why is teamwork important? And why is it important to build collaboration within an IT team?
Why does an IT team need to build teamwork?
Anyone serious about software development and software testing knows just how difficult it could be to work alone. The level of difficulty even scales with the scope of the project. Bigger projects require more developers that could commit more man-hours. Bigger projects could also benefit from more testers and their meticulous testing practices.
But how do all these relate to teamwork and interaction in the IT team?
It all boils down to the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
What happens in software development?
See, there are many different types of SDLC models, but most of them share the same phases: planning, requirement analysis, design, development, testing, documentation, and evaluation. And as you’re already probably aware, different people would usually work on all these different phases!
This means that the person who analyzed the requirements for the program to be developed may not be the same person who would go on to design and develop the actual program. Those who worked on the requirements may be able to work on documentation. Those who made the test requirements may not be the same people to perform them.
Best practice also dictates that the person who developed the program isn’t the person who would do most of the testing and evaluation. This is also one of the main reasons why many of the bigger corporations choose to work with third-party providers that offer software testing services.
Some of the phases in some SDLC models even happen simultaneously – prototypes and tests may be designed at the same time. Deployment prep can start as soon as the developers start various tasks too.
How does team building help an IT team?
In IT teams, communication is key and teamwork is more than just a trait you put on a résumé. Both of these are something that all members of the team should know how to do almost naturally, as a single task or action can bring about immense changes that could affect the whole team. And, like many other teams, IT teams could benefit from team building activities for a lot of reasons.
It encourages communication
Team building activities encourage team members to work with each other with communication at the root of success. These activities can also help team members familiarize themselves with how other people in the team communicate, as not everybody communicates in the same way. Many IT teams prefer straightforward communication though, leaving nothing to imagination and interpretation.
It promotes accountability
Individual accountability matters to IT teams, especially for those working with sensitive data. Every team member must learn their responsibilities, and each must be aware of what others expect from them. While the success of a product is a collective effort, teams must always be able to trace where mistakes were made. By promoting accountability, each person in the group becomes reliable and responsible.
It develops collaboration
An IT team needs to be collaborative and interactive. Team members should know who to turn to for questions and guidance. At the same time, they need to know how to talk to that person when the need for interaction arises. By building a relationship with the people in your team, you can communicate your needs better. You can communicate openly with people in the team so you can align your goals and timelines.
It increases productivity
With every benefit that team building offers to IT teams, an increase in productivity comes right after. Like a well-oiled machine, an IT team that practices good communication, accountability, and collaboration, is an IT team that experiences productivity boosts multiple times a day. By working towards a common, communicated goal, there are fewer duplicated and unnecessary tasks done. There’s less resistance within and from the team, so individuals can get more relevant work done.