Being the tech lead on a project is not easy, but it can be extremely rewarding when you manage to steer the project toward success. There are many responsibilities that come with being the tech lead, and if you want to be successful, it’s important to have these responsibilities in mind at all times.
Let’s consider the below as the five most important responsibilities of a tech lead.
1. Keep Track Of What Tasks Are In Progress
As a tech lead, you must juggle many different tasks simultaneously—and that’s not even including meetings and one-on-one sessions with teammates. When things inevitably fall behind, it’s important to have a system in place to keep track of what’s in progress so that you can monitor any delays and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
This process will help avoid or reduce unnecessary stress you may encounter during the process. Even with all your skills and experience, technology can sometimes get in your way.
Getting sidetracked because you don’t know how to use a certain system or program is frustrating and time-consuming—and it can be even worse if you have other tasks that need immediate attention. In some cases, you may need to enlist help from someone who has more experience than you do.
ALSO READ: 3 Major Usefulness Of Fintech Companies
You’ll also need to keep track of what tasks are in progress, especially when it comes to employees. Different employees have different strengths and weaknesses, and you must take those into account as you assign projects. Some may be more adept at handling high-priority assignments than others, so you must plan accordingly.
2. Communicate With Your Team About Those Tasks
Communication is one of your key responsibilities as a tech lead—you will be responsible for informing your team about upcoming tasks, explaining what exactly those tasks entail, and answering any questions or concerns they may have.
If you make time to communicate with your team frequently and thoroughly, you’ll both be able to avoid any misunderstandings that might arise when it comes time to do actual work.
The best way to communicate effectively with your team is to set aside regular team meetings where everyone on your team can ask questions and discuss upcoming work. Use your meetings to introduce new hires, update your team on current projects, and explain how their individual tasks fit into larger initiatives.
Meetings are also an opportunity for you as a tech lead to clarify your vision for specific products or features, as well as solicit input from your teammates.
3. Define Sprint Milestones
At its core, Scrum is all about managing expectations. As part of that, defining sprint milestones is hugely important: Clients and stakeholders need to be able to evaluate whether or not you’re meeting your goals by setting up clear checkpoints at which they can see how close you are to hitting them.
At each milestone, expect your team members to pull out their notes and check off (or expand upon) what was accomplished during that time period—so make sure everyone understands exactly what those items were ahead of time.
So how can you go about defining sprint milestones? Staying within your original time frame is probably going to be most important, so try to stay on schedule and deliver each milestone when it’s due. This will give everyone involved clear dates to focus on and work toward—and clear points at which they can evaluate your progress.
4. Run Status Meetings
In most development teams, all members are asked to report on their progress regularly. Status meetings are an effective way to ensure everyone is aware of what’s going on. As a tech lead, you should be able to run these meetings and make sure everything is progressing smoothly, or if there are any roadblocks that need to be addressed.
If no one else has those skills, it might be your job to learn them! At a status meeting, you will discuss issues that have been raised by other members, as well as progress made on individual tasks.
Ideally, all team members should be able to run status meetings, so it’s not your job alone to track project progress and make sure everything is going according to plan. For some projects, you may be responsible for setting aside time every day or week for colleagues to report on their work.
The tech lead is ultimately responsible for ensuring that project-related activities are proceeding smoothly. The role includes scheduling status meetings to keep everyone informed about what’s going on, and providing regular updates.
This can be quite demanding and takes time away from actual development, so it’s important to be able to delegate tasks where possible. Having other team members who can run status meetings is a big help as well because it reduces your load.
5. Oversee Backlog Prioritization And Grooming Sessions
Tech leads must help establish and maintain order in backlog prioritization and grooming sessions. This means making tough decisions, communicating with both product management and development teams, and overseeing backlog grooming sessions to make sure that tasks fit within sprint objectives.
Overseeing backlog grooming and prioritization sessions entails tasks like making sure that scrum teams deliver maximum value to customers. Tech leads ensure that each backlog item is evaluated on several criteria, including cost-effectiveness, size, difficulty in implementation, risk level, time to implement, and required skills.
Tech leads can delegate prioritization and grooming tasks to scrum team members, but they must still ensure that tasks fit within sprint objectives. Tech leads should make sure that development teams deliver maximum value to customers in each product backlog grooming session.
Tech leads oversee backlog prioritization and grooming sessions: Even though tech leads assign tasks during scrum meetings, they must stay involved in those tasks throughout the lifecycle of any given sprint or product release.
While responsibilities can vary based on your company and tech lead’s level, they are typically all covered by one person. It is important for a tech lead to have strong tech knowledge and leadership skills. A tech lead should be able to identify problems and find solutions while creating forward momentum in a company.
It is important for any tech lead to be able to carry out their responsibilities as outlined above. While different companies will have varying needs, having good technical knowledge and people skills is key to success.
While each company will have unique needs and expectations, tech leads should have basic to advanced technical knowledge as well as strong leadership skills. They need to be able to identify problems and find solutions while keeping their team on task and moving forward.
The best tech leads are those who are able to create forward momentum in a company by balancing responsibilities across both development and business teams.