Software Development Manager Hiring Guide: Roles, Responsibilities, and More

Categories: IT Recruitment Advice
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Software development is a complex endeavor that requires orchestrating tasks and managing deadlines. It’s essential to have a skilled and experienced software development manager at the helm to ensure the success of a project. They’re responsible for bringing together software engineers, designers, and testers and ensuring the projects are on time and within budget.

However, hiring a manager based on their software development technical skills alone isn’t enough. They should also have leadership and project management skills, which not all software developers have.  

In the next section, we’ll discuss the key qualities to look for in a software development manager and how to find the right candidates for your job opening.

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What is a Software Development Manager?

A software development manager leads the development of software products and applications. They oversee the entire software development process, from requirements gathering to deployment. They also work with various stakeholders—including engineers, product managers, and clients—so that the output meets your client’s needs.

Overall, they ensure your software development team completes projects on time, within budget, and to the customer’s satisfaction.

Software development managers typically report to a superior role, such as the company’s vice president of engineering or chief technology officer (CTO). In some cases, they may report directly to the CEO.

Software Development Manager Responsibilities

With their expertise and leadership, your software development manager ensures the success of your projects. Here are their usual day-to-day responsibilities.

Develop strategies for new software and application

Your software development manager defines project goals, scope, and the technology stack required to develop new software and applications. They ensure your software products address specific business needs, adhere to technology trends, and promote scalability and long-term success, aligning with your company’s broader objectives.

Communicate with clients

Effective communication is crucial in software development. Thus, you need a software development manager who can liaise with clients to gather requirements, address concerns, and ensure that the development meets their expectations.

Assist in building a high-performing team

Apart from the technical aspects of the role, they should participate in the hiring process to recruit new talent for the software development team. They play a pivotal role in assigning roles and responsibilities to team members based on their skills and expertise.

Lead the team’s day-to-day operations

Your software development manager oversees the development team’s daily activities. They assign tasks, monitor progress, and ensure members have the resources to succeed. This management maintains efficiency, coordination, and accountability within the team, contributing to the timely and successful completion of software projects.

Approve the software’s design and architecture

They are responsible for making or approving critical decisions related to software architecture because they have a holistic view of the project’s goals, technical requirements, and business needs.

Oversee project timelines and deadlines

Your software development manager ensures your team stays on track and delivers software projects within agreed-upon timeframes. This responsibility is crucial for meeting client expectations, managing resources effectively, and maintaining project efficiency, ultimately leading to successful project outcomes.

Guarantee software quality

Quality assurance is a key aspect of software development. Your software development manager implements processes like code reviews and testing to maintain and improve software quality.

Report developments to executives

Your software development manager acts as a bridge between you and your development team. They can inform you on project progress, challenges, and milestones to help you make informed decisions.

Software Development Manager Qualifications

Hiring the right software development manager is crucial because they’re your gateway to delivering high-quality software. While focusing on their project management skills, you can also vet candidates based on their strong technical proficiency in software development. Here are the qualifications you should look for in potential candidates. 

Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP)

One of the certifications you should look for when hiring a software development manager is the CSDP from the International Association of Software Architects (IASA).

It proves the applicant’s knowledge and skills in software engineering principles and practices, object-oriented programming concepts, database design and administration, web technologies, and system security, signifying high-level competence in software development.

To retain certification status, your software development manager must complete continuing education requirements every two years.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Your ideal software development manager should be well-versed in Scrum, an Agile project management system. Certification from the Scrum Alliance means they’re skilled in facilitating Scrum practices, helping your software development team work more efficiently.

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Aside from Scrum, your software development manager should be skilled in Agile, a project management methodology widely embraced for its adaptability and client-centric approach. A CSPO certification ensures your software development manager can bring a client-focused perspective and excel in gathering and prioritizing client requirements.

It also means they have effective communication skills crucial for maintaining clear and efficient interactions between your development teams, stakeholders, and clients throughout a project.

Certified Agile Project Manager (CAPM)

CAPM certification signifies your software development manager’s solid understanding of Agile project management practices. Their expertise in Agile ceremonies—such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, and retrospectives—ensures they can structure your projects well, monitor your development team’s progress, and align with project goals.

CompTIA Project+

CompTIA Project+ is a vendor-neutral certification demonstrating your software development manager’s knowledge of project management concepts and techniques. It proves their skills in several topics, such as:

  • Project tools and project documentation
  • Change management
  • Cost controls
  • IT and governance basics
  • Risk management

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Another project management certification you can look for is the PMP. Like CompTIA Project+, this qualification is not software-specific. However, it’s still highly regarded in the industry and covers many project management principles applicable to software development projects.

It proves your software development manager’s understanding of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), considered the holy grail of project management concepts.

Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC)

SEMC is a certification program focusing on software engineering principles and practices. It showcases your software development manager’s deep understanding of software engineering concepts, including design, maintenance, quality, and engineering economics.

Software Development Manager Interview Questions

Aside from the certifications above, ask the following questions to further vet your ideal software development manager.

Have you encountered a challenging decision in your previous role? If so, how did you manage it?

This question gauges your candidate’s ability to make critical decisions under pressure. They should provide a specific example of a challenging decision, discuss the factors considered, and explain the reasoning behind their choice. They may also highlight their analytical skills, risk assessment, and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Could you describe the strategies you employ for fostering teamwork in your workplace?

Your ideal software development manager should describe leadership strategies such as fostering open communication, setting clear goals, encouraging collaboration, and resolving conflicts constructively. They should also emphasize their role in creating a positive team culture and their experience in achieving successful team outcomes.

What’s your approach to simplifying intricate technical matters for clients who lack a technical background?

Not all clients know software development terms—they likely approached you for an end product rather than a tech crash course. Therefore, your ideal candidate should know how to translate complex technical concepts into plain language.

Consider it a green flag if they used analogies, visual aids, and active listening to ensure clients with limited technical backgrounds fully understood and engaged in discussions.

How would you address a professional disagreement within the team?

As conflict is common in the workplace, ask them to describe their approach to resolving professional disagreements, such as emphasizing open dialogue and active listening. They should also highlight their ability to reach consensus while maintaining a productive team environment.

List some project management tools you’ve utilized in your software projects.

Ideally, software development managers should have experience with project management tools like Jira, Trello, or Asana. Take it as a good sign if they mention how they use these tools to plan, track, and manage software projects.

How do you determine the priority of issues during the software development process?

Project timelines and deadlines for different clients may sometimes overlap, creating a conflict in schedule. As such, you need a software development manager who can handle priorities based on impact, urgency, client needs, and project goals. In response to this question, they should explain their decision-making process that can benefit the projects and stakeholders.

What steps do you take to ensure your team delivers a software product on schedule?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to create and manage a realistic project schedule. They should know how to set realistic project schedules, monitor progress, identify potential bottlenecks, and adjust plans to meet deadlines. For this, they should emphasize proactive planning and communication.

Have you ever discovered a significant design flaw in a software product post-launch? How did you resolve it?

Design flaws can occur even after launching a software product. Your ideal candidate should share a specific instance where they discovered such a mistake and discuss the steps they took to address it. Their response highlights problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and commitment to delivering high-quality software.

5 Tips for Hiring Software Development Managers

Aside from checking for certifications and asking the questions above, consider the following tips when hiring the right software development manager for your company.

1. Look for both soft and hard skills

Soft skills—such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and cooperativeness—are crucial for effective project management and team collaboration. For hard skills, there should be a certain standard of which project management and developer certifications are required when evaluating the candidate. You should choose the candidate that has the best set of hard skills with compatible soft skills. 

2. Choose candidates with years of experience

Novice software developers or project managers may not have the right skills and knowledge to manage teams. Hire a software development manager with a track record of successfully managing software projects. They can navigate challenges more effectively and bring valuable insights and leadership to your organization.

3. Sell your company well

Top candidates often get multiple job opportunities. To attract the best talent, showcase your company’s culture, values, growth opportunities, and exciting projects. You should establish a rapport with the candidate and figure out which aspects of the job are important for them. Emphasize the attractive qualities of your workplace that align with these aspects during the interview process.

4. Offer a competitive compensation package

Software development managers are in high demand, and offering a competitive compensation package is essential to attracting and retaining top talent. Compensation should include a competitive salary, performance-based incentives, benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. Ensure that your package aligns with industry standards.

5. Consider outsourcing

If finding the right in-house software development manager proves challenging, consider outsourcing the role. Outsourced software development managers can help you focus on your core business activities and save costs. This benefit is ideal if you’re still an emerging software company.

A Software Development Manager is a Crucial Hire

The right software development manager can lead your team to build high-quality software on time and within budget. That’s why it’s important to vet software development candidates carefully based on their hard and soft skills. Use the tips above to hire a software development manager and ensure the success of your company. 

If you need help outsourcing a software development manager, hire a reputable recruitment agency in the Philippines, like Manila Recruitment. With our offshore software development services, we can help you complete projects on time and sustain a competent software development team.

Contact us to learn more.