The Importance Of Team Work on Big Projects

Massive projects are definitely an undertaking, something every developer, designer, copywriter, and anyone who works in marketing will at one point work on a massive project that will take months and months to complete. When you work alone for a long time, it can be hard to break away from being inside your own personal bubble, having your headphones on, being laser focused on your own work, and not paying attention to anything else. Where does the teamwork evolve from? It will evolve from you being stuck in isolation mode to being a developer who wants to help the team succeed.

The Importance of Slack

Slack is probably the biggest most needed app in today’s world when it comes to companies. With it you can talk to everyone through the main channels on a project, or directly if you have a quick question. I know before it was shooting out email strings with a lot of people on them to find out who is doing what, and emails are coming and going, overlapping…getting caught in spam. Slack, however allows team members to communicate specifically on a project.

The tool is only as good as the users who actually use it properly. Always using direct messages and asking 1, 2 or 3 people can be solved by just dropping the question in the project channel. DO NOT IGNORE THE CHANNELS. Also learn to set up keywords, like for me, I will get pinged on such keywords like design, CSS, stylesheets. Say if you are working on a specific area of a project and the channel is booming with info and someone types in something you are working on…you can easily miss it not having set up keywords. It has happened to me where something is mentioned and I missed it because I didn’t set up my keywords.

Project Management – Its not just for show

Project management software like JIRA or Asana or Basecamp isn’t just something you kind of use for show. Its something that has to be utilized. Having to move from a private task manager like ToDoList or Wunderlist over to something everyone can see, might seem daunting or invasive but remember that everyone is on the same team. Teamwork is essential. Now why are these apps important? It allows people to have a digital workboard. Its no longer sticky notes on a wall.

Now why do I stress this over a stickynote wall version? The ability to add comments, post screenshots, ask for clarification on something instead of leaving it possibly up in the air, and knowing who is working on what, or just in turn forgetting. Now which one do I like more? Each of them has good and bad things about them, currently I am liking JIRA more…except for one thing. Why isn’t there like a desktop app? Anyways moving on.

Another good thing about the digital workboard is tracking task issue, and time, cause the project managers will need to know how long something takes you, and if anything arises from it. I know a lot of developers don’t like the idea of someone passively watching over their back but on massive projects with deadlines to meet. Not meeting those deadlines could mean you are out of a job.

Don’t Be Shy

One of the things that I notice and have noticed in myself is moving from a small project that is like 1 or 2 people to a team project of 30 can be a very big change of pace. Communication is important, and not wondering what is what and who is who or wondering what you are supposed to be working on or if you get stuck, which brings me to the next point. Ask questions, if something isn’t clear, first and foremost just ask away. Keep everyone up to date and just get to know your team. Not being isolated and in your own bubble takes some time to break away from. I have always been told in a team, if you get stuck and spend more than like 20 minutes trying to solve it, just outright ask. Nothing is dumb and everything is a learning experience.

In Conclusion

I think the biggest takeaway from all this, is the free flow of communication, and breaking out of that mold that developers are shy hermits. It does take a while to actually fix this especially when you are a freelancer or use to working solo for a long time and moving onto bigger projects with more people will do just that. It will be scary, cause you might be afraid you might break something but this is where team work and communication will be very important and just don’t be afraid of coworkers.

see you space cowboy…

 

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