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Managing IT Teams: Best Tools and Practices

OKRs are awesome, but they are only a part of the team productivity management. To provide a broader perspective for our readers, we elected to call on experts. Our friends at cybernews.com are living on the cutting edge of technology, and in this article, they share their experiences with managing IT teams.

In today’s digital age, IT (Information Technology) teams have become an integral part of almost every business, whether a startup or a multinational corporation. The proper management of these teams is essential for the success of any organization.

According to a Team Stage report, appreciating team members can increase productivity by 202%, and recognition motivates 69% of employees to work harder. These stats show the importance of efficiently managing IT teams to stay ahead of the competition.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best tools and practices you can use to manage IT teams efficiently to help them maximize their productivity.

Best Tools and Practices for Managing IT Teams

Team management is the art of organizing and directing individuals toward a shared objective. A successful team manager is skilled in supporting, inspiring, and engaging their team members while ensuring they remain motivated and on track.

Good team management can foster collaboration, increase productivity, and prevent employee burnout when implemented correctly. In essence, effective team management is the key to achieving success in any organization.

Make Processes and Workflows Efficient

According to a study published by Hyper Context, 37% of managers say keeping their teams on track is the most important part of their job.

 Establishing efficient processes and workflows is essential to ensure optimal performance from your IT teams and keep them on track. This involves clearly defining each team member’s roles and responsibilities, streamlining the work structure, and utilizing effective tools to manage the project.

By doing so, you can help your team to stay focused on their primary tasks while also avoiding unnecessary distractions and confusion. A good approach to achieve that is to use a project management solution like Jira, which offers useful features like progress tracking, customized backlogs, and task assignment.

This allows you to prioritize and delegate tasks more effectively and utilize the time efficiently. Additionally, choosing the right project management framework, such as Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, and Scrum, can further enhance the efficiency of your team’s processes.

Important Note: The Agile framework is becoming increasingly popular among businesses today, as it promotes collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability, enabling teams to work more efficiently towards their goals.

Encourage Open Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are crucial components of a successful IT team. In fact, 86% of managers/team leaders attribute a lack of collaboration as the primary reason for workplace failures.

Open communication is especially vital in development, where multiple teams of developers work together on projects that require constant cooperation.

Plus, it becomes even more important if you’re working with remote teams, as they can’t communicate with one another in person.

Tools to Encourage Open Communication

Fortunately, tons of tools available in the market, such as Slack, Zoom, and Miro, have made it easier to set up effective communication spaces for remote teams.


Slack is a comprehensive communication tool that can become an information hub for your team(s). It allows you to create organized communication channels for specific projects, teams, or tasks, making it easier to keep track of relevant information.

With searchable channels, new and existing members can access past discussions and information to perform their jobs effectively.


Zoom is a video conferencing tool that can help you conduct virtual meetings with your team members, regardless of their location. It’s a unified collaboration and communication platform allowing you to unite your teams.


Miro, a virtual whiteboard tool, allows remote teams to collaborate more effectively by providing an interface for brainstorming, taking notes, and creating project concepts.

Prioritize Transparency

Keeping your IT teams connected to your company’s key projects and goals is essential. Keep in mind that developers are highly specialized workers, and they can lose sight of the bigger picture by getting caught up in their day-to-day work.

As a manager, you should consider it an integral part of your job to remind them of the big picture, according to a senior developer at Moz, Maura Hubbell.

The lack of trust can negatively affect your IT teams’ performance and satisfaction, leading to failures. Always remember that developers want their managers to be open and transparent about important topics. It builds trust, and employees who trust their manager are happier and more satisfied in their workplace.

Tools for Prioritizing Transparency

One of the best ways to keep all relevant information in one place for your teams is to use content collaboration solutions, such as Confluence. It’s a well-known tool that can organize and store information, allowing everyone on the team to access it.

You can also use ReadMe to create interactive documentation and provide everything your IT teams need.

Listen and Learn

Listening and learning from employee feedback is important to any organization’s success.  It’ll help you identify areas of improvement, enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, and ultimately improve the company’s performance.

To actively listen to your employees, it’s important to provide them with regular opportunities to express their opinions and ideas. This can be done through regular one-on-one meetings, team meetings, suggestion boxes, or anonymous surveys.

Another excellent way to appreciate new ideas is to use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). It’ll encourage your employees to share their thoughts about the ongoing project and specify the scope of work and task deadlines. It’s a modern approach that many companies use to set and measure progress toward specific goals.

Oboard is one of the best ways to implement and manage OKRs right inside your Jira or Salesforce workspace. If you want to align all teams with the company’s goals and encourage everyone to find more effective solutions to the existing problems but do not want to create unnecessary data duplication and back-and-forth — this is the tool for you.

Track the Team’s Performance Correctly

Measuring the IT team’s performance can be useful for your business, but you should assess the right metrics. It’s important to note that the quantity of work doesn’t reflect its quality, and metrics such as time spent or lines of code written are not good indicators of productivity.

Source: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4842-4221-6_2

Instead, focusing on specific metrics, such as cycle time, can provide actionable insights and a clearer picture of a team’s work. It measures the time between the start and end of a task, such as product development, feature implementation, or bug fixes, and has the following four distinct parts:

  • Coding is the time from the first code commit to a request for code review and should last ideally two to three days.
  • Pickup is the waiting period between the end of coding and the review phase; efficient teams should spend a day at most in this phase.
  • The review phase involves code rewrites, addressing comments, and preparing the code for production, and it should take one to two days.
  • The deployment phase is the time between merging the code and the moment it’s in the final product.

Tools like LinearB can help you analyze cycle time and other useful metrics to measure your team’s performance. By identifying parts of the process that can be improved, you can implement productive changes to enhance your teams’ overall performance.

Provide Regular Feedback

While giving feedback may be difficult, it’s a crucial part of managing an IT team successfully. Make sure you check in with your team members on a regular basis to help them be more productive.

Here are some tips for giving effective feedback to your team.

  • Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with team members to discuss their progress.
  • Be specific about the areas that need improvement and provide actionable steps to address them.
  • Approach feedback with a growth mindset and the intention of helping your team members succeed.

Prevent Team Burn-out

Employee burnout is a real concern in the IT industry, with over 62% of individuals experiencing physical or emotional exhaustion. As a team leader, it’s your job to take proactive measures to prevent it.

According to a study, employees who feel connected to their organization’s purpose, accomplishments, and colleagues experience a 57% decrease in burnout. Therefore, creating a sense of belonging and shared purpose is crucial among your team members.

It’s also important to set positive boundaries and ensure a good work-life balance for your teams, which means encouraging them to avoid working excessively. This will help them recharge and return to work feeling refreshed and more productive.

Receiving excessive work-related notifications is another big source of distraction, which can disrupt an employee’s focus and lead to burnout. So, help your team members better manage their work notifications using tools like MeisterTask.

Appreciate and Reward Good Performance

Employee appreciation and recognition are critical in maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. According to statistics, lack of appreciation is a significant reason why 79% of people quit their jobs. An incentive-based management system that rewards good performance is essential to prevent this.

Not only will it motivate your teams to work harder, but it’ll also show that their hard work is valued. It’s important to note that rewards don’t always have to be monetary. Simple gestures like thank-you notes or company parties can go a long way in showing that your team’s efforts are appreciated.

Ensures the Security of Your Data

Ensuring the security of your data is vital for any business. While it was once only a concern for certain sectors, it’s now important for all companies, especially the ones working with remote teams.

Here are some tips that you can use for this purpose.

  • Implement access controls: Limiting access to sensitive data to only those who need it effectively minimizes the risk of data breaches.
  • Use strong passwords: Encourage employees to use passwords that are difficult to guess or crack. Use two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
  • Encrypt sensitive data: Ask your remote IT teams to use a VPN on their devices, such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. It’ll encrypt online traffic, making it harder for anyone to access your company’s sensitive information.
  • Use antivirus and anti-malware software: Install and regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software to detect and remove viruses, malware, and other threats.
  • Keep software up-to-date: Ensure that all software tools used by the company are up-to-date with the latest security patches to prevent exploitation of known vulnerabilities.
  • Conduct regular security audits: Regularly audit the security measures in place to ensure they are effective and up-to-date. This can include penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

Work On Your Management Skills

Without proper management skills, employees may become demotivated, leading to decreased productivity, morale, and turnover. Therefore, working on your skills is crucial to improve your effectiveness and leadership abilities. Here are some skills to focus on:

  • Emotional intelligence: Being able to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of your team members, is crucial in creating a positive and productive work environment.
  • Organization: Effective organization skills can help you manage your time, prioritize tasks, and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • Team building: Building strong relationships and promoting teamwork among team members can help increase motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction.
  • Decision making: Making informed decisions and taking responsibility for their outcomes is essential for effective management.
  • Problem-solving: Identifying and addressing problems in a timely and effective manner is crucial for successful management..
  • Empathy: Developing empathy as a manager and seeing things from your team members’ perspectives can promote trust and foster strong relationships.

Final Words

 An IT team is a precious asset to any organization but requires effective leadership to perform at its best. As a manager, it’s important to understand how to optimize your team’s performance while ensuring that all stakeholders, including team members and yourself, are satisfied.

You can achieve this goal by leveraging the best tools and practices discussed in this guide. We hope it’ll help you navigate the ever-changing technology landscape effectively and lead your IT teams toward success.

Take the friction out of managing OKRs and implement the framework with ease.