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How to Help Your Developers Overcome Common Hurdles

Don't leave your developers in the lurch when they run into problems.

Melissa Olander

By Melissa Olander

AVP, Account Management, Melissa Olander helps lead an experienced team of account managers and directors to support small and medium business spaces.

10 min read

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Have you ever stopped to wonder just how hard a developer’s job really is? Not only is the job itself hard, but it also requires meeting often unreasonable deadlines. And given your company requires the software they create to function properly, there’s a level of added stress some of your other staff don’t experience.

So, when a developer runs into a common, everyday hurdle, it can prevent progress. Every time a developer has to stop what they’re doing, they’ll have to spend added time getting back up to speed when they dive back into the code. That alone can be a real issue, especially for developers who already have a hard enough time concentrating.

With that in mind, what can you do to help those developers overcome the common hurdles thrown at them throughout the day? You might be surprised to find it’s not nearly as hard as you think. At the same time, it’s also important that you don’t create an environment where your software engineers are siloed from other workers. You don’t want to completely isolate your developers or make them feel as though they are better than the rest of your staff.

However, if you want those engineers to meet deadlines without compromising the quality of their code, helping them overcome common hurdles is important.

Let’s take a look at how you can effectively manage this.

Prevent Interruptions

One of the biggest headaches developers have to suffer through is interruptions. These can be in the form of unnecessary meetings, walk-ins, phone calls, off-site excursions, and on-site visits. Every time you interrupt a developer, it’s not just the amount of time the interruption lasts that will prevent them from working, it’s also the time it takes for them to ramp back up into writing code. That can require them having to review what they last wrote, consider their goal, and finally get back to work.

If you (or other employees) interrupt your developers throughout the day, that downtime adds up. To get the most productivity out of your developers, they should be left alone to do what they do best—write code. Disturb your software engineers as little as possible throughout the day and you’ll find they work much more efficiently.

Offload Non-Development Work

At some point down the road, your managers may have tasked developers to do things other than developing. They might have them working on user onboarding, billing, team management, or even some light admin duties. Such duties should be considered the same as interruptions because they keep your developers from doing what you hired them to do— develop.

Make sure to regularly check in on your engineers to keep them laser-focused on that very singular task of software engineering. Any chance you can get to offload non-development work means those developers will be more productive.

Actively Listen to Your Staff

This is harder than you think. To actively listen means more than just hearing words. You must hear the meaning behind the words, the attitude driving the words, the subtext behind the words, and the physicality partnered with the words.

When you can really and truly hear your staff, you are better capable of knowing what problems they are having or what needs aren’t being met. This is probably a much bigger deal than you are making of it. Once you start actively listening to your developers, you’ll be better equipped to know what hurdles they are experiencing, and how to more effectively deal with those issues.

Be as Flexible as Possible

If you become rigid with your developers, problems will arise. To achieve a higher level of productivity, you must show your developers you can be flexible. This might come in the form of a release deadline (which you shouldn’t be too flexible with), scheduling, and remote working. The more rigid you are with developers, the more stress they will experience with their jobs.

Create a flexible environment, one that is not only enjoyable to work in but one that’s conducive to the developer’s particular needs. You might have one developer that works best when under the pressure of tight deadlines, while another becomes highly stressed and less productive. When you understand how your different developers work and can be flexible with those needs, you’ll find their productivity skyrockets.

Emphasize Quality Over Quantity

It’s tempting to demand big numbers from your developers. That’s a mistake. Yes, your developers need to produce code, but emphasizing quantity over quality is a disaster in the making. What you want are developers that produce the highest quality code possible. When that happens, they might seem a bit slower, but the fact that the code might require a significantly shorter testing phase means the overall development lifecycle will be shorter.

A shorter development lifecycle means you can release faster and more reliably. Make quality your goal and reap the benefits.

Employ a Kanban Board

If you really want to help your developers out, make use of a kanban board. These simple to use project management tools can help keep developers on track with their tasks and make it even easier to collaborate on a team. Even better, kanban boards help remove middle management from the picture, which can go a long way to prevent interruptions and avoid non-development tasks.

More important, however, is that kanban boards give developers a visual representation of where every task is on the project timeline. This helps to keep developers on track for deadlines, so they can avoid the stress of having to race to the finish.

Kanban boards are a simple to deploy, cost-effective solution that can reap considerable benefits for both your developers and your company.

Avoid Cubicles At All Costs

This might be a challenge for some companies, but having your developers work in cubicles often is less than productive. As we’ve already stated, developing is already a challenging job, which is why you need your development team to collaborate with one another, something that cubicles prevent. 

But if you have no other choice than to go with cubicles, you would be best served to put all of your developers on one floor, that way they’ll all respect each other and distractions will be at a minimum. The best-case scenario, however, is to give those developers offices so they can close their doors and be productive.


You don’t have to treat your developers with kid gloves, but you might find a bit of extra attention to help them overcome common hurdles at the workplace goes a long way to making them more productive. And when your developers are more productive, your business will flourish. Common hurdles are everywhere, so be on the lookout for those that might slow down the development process.

Melissa Olander

By Melissa Olander

As AVP of Account Management, Melissa Olander supports small and medium businesses by leading a team of experienced account managers and directors. Melissa's goal is to help these companies expand their digital products and strategically develop plans for scaling needs.

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