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Improve Developer Productivity: A Guide to Mentorship and Skill Development

March 29, 2023


min read

Valentine Steph

Improve Developer Productivity: A Guide to Mentorship and Skill Development

Mentor tips for engineering leaders to guide professional skill development of developers with the help of AI.

Did you know that the lack of clear software developer goals and inadequate development of skills can lead to decreased overall developer productivity in a software engineering team?

To solve this problem, experienced engineering managers start a mentorship program and practice mentoring software engineers.

In this blog post, we'll discuss how effective mentorship can significantly increase productivity in tech teams and provide mentor tips for engineering leaders to become a software engineer mentor with the help of Ace AI.

Read: Full guide on how to start a mentorship program at work

Why is mentorship important?

Effective mentorship can help significantly increase developer productivity and positively influence employee retention in an engineering team. According to a survey conducted by Gartner, employees who receive mentoring are promoted five times more often than those who don't receive mentoring.

List of benefits of effective mentorship for a software engineering team

#1. Effective mentorship helps an engineering manager provide guidance in professional skill development

Mentors help developers with technical skill development, identify and address skill gaps, increase engagement, and create a culture of continuous learning within the tech team.

#2. Mentorship can also have a positive impact on employee retention

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, employees who are mentored are 77% more likely to stay with their organization than those who are not mentored. By investing in mentorship, organizations can improve employee satisfaction and retention rates, leading to long-term benefits for the company.

#3. Mentorship can help to improve diversity and inclusion in tech teams

According to a study conducted by BetterUp, employees who receive mentorship from someone outside of their own demographic group are more likely to feel included and supported within their organization. This can lead to increased engagement and better collaboration within the team.

Mentorship is a powerful tool for improving productivity of tech teams. But now we’ll address the question: How do you create an effective mentoring program?

In the next part of this blog post, you’ll get mentor tips to help an engineer manager become a great mentor for their engineering team.

Successful mentorship tips

How can I make my mentorship effective?

Here is a list of tips on how to make mentoring effective. These strategies and tools will help you start a mentorship program and significantly increase developer productivity.

Tip #1. Adding relevant skills to a development plan

Effective mentorship involves identifying the relevant skills that developers need to acquire or improve upon, and adding them to the development plan. This will help to optimize the professional skill development of engineers and stay focused.

For example, a front-end developer may need to learn new frameworks or tools to keep up with the latest trends in web development. A full-stack developer may benefit from learning a new programming language to expand their skill set.

How can a manager understand what skills should developers upgrade?

Good question!

How to identify focus skills:

  • Industry trends: Stay up-to-date with industry trends and identify the skills that are in high demand. This will help you to ensure that your developers are equipped with the skills they need to stay competitive.
  • Skill gaps: Identify the skill gaps within the team and develop training plans to address them. This will help to ensure that your team has a well-rounded set of skills and that everyone is capable of contributing to the team's success.
  • Developer career goals: Identify the career goals of each developer and tailor their development plans accordingly. This will help to keep developers motivated and engaged, as they are working towards skills that are relevant to their career aspirations.
  • Company’s business goals: Identify the skills required to achieve the company's business goals. This will help to ensure that the team is working towards goals that are aligned with the company's overall strategy.

Is there an easy way to choose relevant skills for development? Sure!

You can easily automate the process of identifying focus skills and creating development plans for your engineering team with the help of AI.

Ace AI uses Git data to identify career path level of a software engineer and finds skills gaps. Then Ace AI creates a personalized development goal to fill these skill gaps.

See how it works in practice:

Connect Git and get a personalized development goal in Ace AI
Connect Git and get a personalized development goal in Ace AI

Tip #2. Personalizing recommendations for skill development

Once the focus skills have been identified, it's important to personalize recommendations for professional skill development for each developer. People have different learning styles and preferences, so what works for one person may not work for another. For example, some developers may prefer hands-on learning experiences while others may prefer self-paced online courses or reading books.

By personalizing recommendations for each developer, managers can create a more engaging and effective learning experience that helps developers develop their skills and achieve their goals.

Ace AI identifies skill gaps of developers based on Git data and provides personalized recommendations on mentors, courses, videos, books, and other materials, to help developers reach their full potential.

Personalized recommendations in Ace AI
Personalized recommendations in Ace AI

Tip #3. Holding regular one-on-one mentorship sessions

Regular one-on-one mentorship sessions are essential to the success of a mentorship program. These sessions provide an opportunity for managers to connect with their developers, assess progress on development plans, and provide feedback on performance.

Here are the two principles of effective one-on-one sessions:

Principle 1. Schedule them regularly

Depending on the goals of a developer and their needs, you can schedule regular one-on-one mentorships sessions:

  • weekly
  • biweekly
  • or monthly

Schedule these meetings in a way that works for both the mentor and the mentee.

Principle 2. Structure them

In order to stay focused and provide direction to a developer during the mentorship session, an agenda is a must.

Some examples of mentor topics for discussion: progress on development plans, feedback on performance, career development goals, challenges faced by the team member, and strategies to overcome those challenges.

To save your time, Ace AI creates mentorship agenda for you 1-on-1s and offers to discuss a developer’s achievements based on Git data.

Mentorship agenda for 1 on 1 meeting in Ace AI
Mentorship agenda for 1 on 1 meeting in Ace AI

Tip #4. Providing regular feedback

Regular feedback is crucial to the success of a mentorship program. Feedback can help developers identify areas for improvement, make course corrections, and stay motivated to achieve their goals.

Effective feedback should be:

A. Specific (be detailed and highlight specific examples and behaviors).

B. Timely (use every session to provide your feedback).

C. Actionable (update development plans and add new tasks to a development plan).

Managers can use feedback templates to help them provide constructive feedback that is both supportive and challenging.

Or use AI-generated feedback for specific skills by Ace AI based on the work of developers in Git, Jira, and other tools, and save your time.

Automatic feedback for skills in Ace AI
Automatic feedback for skills in Ace AI

Key takeaways

  • Lack of clear goals and inadequate tracking and development of skills can lead to decreased overall performance and productivity of the tech team.
  • Effective mentorship can help address this issue by guiding developers towards success and helping them develop their skills.
  • Identifying relevant skills for each developer based on industry trends, skill gaps, future career goals, and company's business goals can help managers add relevant skills to the development plan for each developer.
  • Using tools like Ace AI helps engineering managers to automate and personalize the process of skills development and drive the overall team’s performance as a result.
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