Why Collaboration Is Important In Software Development

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Two men looking at code on a laptop

Soft skills are important in any career path. However, collaboration is one of the most important soft skills in the field of software development. It is a skill that any successful team will have and that teams that want to be successful should learn. 

So, why is collaboration so important, particularly in software development? What are the specific improvements it leads to? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more. 

Related: Is Software Development Hard? What You Need to Know

Teams Work Better

As previously mentioned, collaboration is an important skill in any workplace. It allows employees to work together better to improve efficiency and quality

However, this is especially true in software development. This is because software development is a process consisting of many parts working toward the same goal. Developers, testers, analysts, product managers, sales teams, and marketing coordinators are all trying to create and bring a product to market. 

Unfortunately, at many companies, these separate parts are kept separate. This reduces the amount of communication and coordination between the groups. By doing this, there is a greater chance that miscommunications will happen, that individuals will take things in a different direction than what was intended and that deadlines will be missed. 

For example, the developers may be doing a great job creating something they think will work. However, the marketing team misunderstands what is being created and ends up releasing advertisements that promise features that aren’t in the product. False advertising like this can hurt a business in several different ways. To prevent this, the developers either need to add the promised features or the marketing team must find a way to retract their previous statement. In either situation, it creates more headaches that could have been avoided. 

Meanwhile, forcing these groups to stay in constant contact with each other prevents these problems from happening. The group unifies around a single goal that is constantly reinforced by everyone in the group. This allows them to stay on task and get things done how they need to be done. 

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The Code Ends Up Better

Two women looking at code on a laptop

Collaboration doesn’t just keep the entire project on task. It actually reduces the number of errors within the code itself. 

When several individuals write code, it is best if these individuals collaborate with each other. Otherwise, the code ends up being far more flawed than it should be. In fact, studies show that diverse teams make fewer errors

The main flaw of working alone is pretty obvious. With a team working on code for a single project, a lack of collaboration leads to plenty of opportunities for mistakes. Two people could be working on the same thing at the same time, the code one group is working on could conflict with the code another group is working on, or chances for optimization could be missed entirely. In any case, a lack of collaboration weakens the code. 

Imagine a group of people tasked with painting a picture of the same landscape. If they fail to collaborate, each one will paint with their own style and choose a piece of the landscape they want to focus on. The end result will be a mishmash of radically different art. However, if they collaborate, the painting will be a beautiful representation of the same landscape from a multitude of angles. 

Code functions in a similar way. By not working together, coders often end up working against each other. However, if they work together and work together well, they could produce something that no individual could produce on their own. 

Related: Software Development vs. Software Engineering: Career Path Guide

Learning is Better

In most cases, a software development team isn’t just together for a single project. The team moves from one project to the next as a group. This means they will grow and change as they do their work. 

It is important to ensure that this growth is positive. A software team that encourages coders to learn more between projects, possibly through a coding bootcamp, or that encourages workers to learn more about their industry will go much further than one that does not do this. 

One way to ensure that the growth of a team is positive is to eliminate bad behaviors. It is incredibly easy to get trapped in your own mistakes. If you keep making the same mistake repeatedly, yet no one is there to correct you, you will never break the cycle. You need someone there to tell you what you are doing wrong and to show you the right way to do things. Otherwise, you will never learn. 

With collaboration, teams get a chance to learn from each other. A team member can point out what another member is doing wrong and explain how to fix the problem. Or, a team member can explain new concepts or ideas to the rest of the group. They can even work together to break bad behaviors that exist within the group. 

Teams can even help solidify good behaviors. When someone does something right, the rest of the group can point out their good work and congratulate them on their efforts. This makes the person more likely to do good things in the future. It also raises the morale of the group in general. 

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Creativity is Better

Collaboration also leads to a greater level of creativity. By increasing creativity, everything about the process can improve. 

This happens naturally as people of different backgrounds work together. A machine learning engineer may have ideas about the project that a developer would not have. Meanwhile, someone without much coding experience will view the entire project differently. As these people work together, these ideas meet, and good ones have a chance to stand out. 

This can improve many elements of the process. Ideas about the way work is carried out may come forward. These allow teams to be more effective and efficient. In addition, ideas about the product itself may come forward. These allow the product to be improved upon. In either case, more creativity is positive. 

Two women looking at a computer together

The Importance of Collaboration in Software Development

The importance of collaboration shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to software development. By honing and encouraging this skill, teams can become more effective and produce better work. There really is no downside to an emphasis on collaboration. 

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