There are lots of things you can do to your developers to make them better. You can send them to conferences, you can review their code, you can let them pair with co-workers and peers, you can give them hard problems that require creative thinking.
You can also let them in on the business side of things.
When you let your developers help make business decisions, they not only become better developers, they also become more valuable to the organization and more able to make solid, trustworthy decisions.
Of course, this means that you simply must continue to empower your devs to actually make decisions.
- Let them deploy when they believe a feature is ready.
- Give them permission to design and spec features.
- Permit them to talk to the stakeholders
Most of what you are doing is giving them freedom to fail. When you do that, you’re creating an environment where they don’t rely on safety nets to catch them, but rather, focus on doing a great job top to bottom themselves.
This is absolutely invaluable.
Does that mean you don’t ever give them feedback? No. Let features be designed by your designers. Let your PMs approve features. Let your QA engineers reject stuff. But never chastize your devs for taking initiative and trying to put forth a best effort. It’s important for the developer and your organization.