How to Improve Development Team Collaboration

November 16, 2018

Your team might consist of a number of expert developers who consistently produce high-quality work, but if they don’t communicate well, your projects will inevitably experience regular hiccups. Prioritizing communication and collaboration is just as important as implementing high-quality standards. Incorporate the tools and suggestions below to create a more open and transparent development workflow and get all of your team members on the same page. 

Use a kanban board to organize your tickets

A workflow visualization tool helps you stay on top of progress, updates, and issues. A tool like a kanban board gives your team a bird’s eye view of your project. 

Organize your board with swimlanes to see which tickets are on deck, in progress, ready for review, and ready for deployment. A visual overview will help everyone stay on the same page and continue to push tasks through the workflow. You can also keep an organized backlog of tickets that you plan to tackle in future sprints or phases of the project.  

Work with a feature branch workflow 

A feature branch workflow allows multiple developers to work on different features at one time without affecting the main codebase. This makes for a more efficient workflow and also makes it possible for developers to use pull requests to discuss specific features. Developers can ask for feedback if they get stuck, and it also enables your team to review before the branch is merged with the main codebase. 

Use a pull request preview tool

A pull request preview tool allows you to visualize the changes in a pull request before they’re merged. Rather than relying on a QA or test environment, you can test in an isolated sandbox. 

A tool like Probo also provides you with a shareable link, so anyone can go to the link and view a sandbox site with the pull request’s change. This gives your team the opportunity to discuss every pull request and make sure it looks and functions as it should. You can also share with clients or non-technical members of the team, improving communication and collaboration overall. 

Check out our comparison of pull request preview tools to determine which one is best for your project.  

Write documentation 

Writing documentation can feel like a chore, but it’s beneficial to incorporate into your workflow for a number of reasons.

For one, it will save time later in the process because it’s a singular source of information for the ins and outs of your product. If someone has a question about how to set something up or how it works, they know exactly where to go. It also ensures that everyone on the project has a solid understanding of how the product functions. 

Keep your documentation in a place that’s easily accessible for all members of your team. Assign specific team members to write the documentation, but ask everyone on the project to review it and provide feedback. This ensures that it’s thorough, concise, and easy to understand. If you make it part of your standard workflow, documentation will become second nature and will help improve team communication and understanding. 

Communicate early and often

The key to improving development team collaboration is prioritizing transparency and communication. Address any issues as they arise and talk through them as a team. Incorporating the suggestions in this post will make sure your team has the tools and channels they need to interact openly with one another.