Development is about much more than code quality and speed. As developers, we have to continuously grow our skills, communicate with our team and clients, mentor teammates, plan our work and execute myriad other tasks. We recently took a company-wide Labs poll on the habits that successful teammates possess and wanted to share what we’ve found with the developer community.
Here are some ways to be a better teammate, click here for the full list.
Interpersonal and communication
- You are not your idea. Be open to other perspectives and ways to do something.
- You are not your code, either. Don’t get too attached to your work, stay open to feedback, and keep your focus on the team’s shared priority of building the best possible solution.
- More communication. However much you have, more is probably better.
- Giving and receiving feedback are both skills. Practice them, model them for others, and help your team to build a strong culture of feedback. You know you have an effective feedback culture when team members can trust that 1) their good work will be recognized by their teammates, 2) if they need to change/fix/improve something about their performance or behavior, a teammate will communicate that to them directly, and 3) feedback will be given and received with respect, empathy, and a focus on growth.
- Establish team agreements so everybody knows what is expected. This can even mean establishing guidelines for PRs, style guides, etc.
- Keep technical discussions in public channels instead of private messages.
Sharing what you’ve learned
- Pair! It’s a great way to share knowledge and get to know your team.
- Knowledge transfer — in the form of blog posts, courses, pairing, and giving talks. Articulating what you know about a topic or technique helps solidify it and you end up understanding it better yourself.
- If you’re the only person on your team who knows how part of your project works, then your team is in danger of losing that knowledge. Work to make sure that more than one developer can do every part of your project lifecycle.
- Use a linter. Arguments about the cuddled else are boring (but cuddle your elses, you monsters!).
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, admit you are confused or ask for help when you are stuck. On the other side of that, be open to questions, to helping others get unstuck, and make sure you are contributing to an atmosphere of safety and curiosity.
- Volunteer for tasks that need someone working on them. Don’t just wait for someone else to volunteer first.
Want to be a better partner to clients, and improve your personal habits to become a better developer? Download our guide, The Habits of Successful Developers.