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8 min read

7 Ways To Be Accountable As A Software Developer

Software/Software Development/Developer/Engineer/Engineering/Code/Coders/Coding/Tech/Technology/Accountability
Accountability can be hard, especially when working from home. However, that doesn't make it any less necessary. Here's some tips to help.
Written by
Jonathan Mitchell
Published on
April 12, 2024

The rise of remote working environments has enabled employees to be more independent and autonomous. No hawkeyed manager lurks in the office, ensuring everyone is on task. Instead, people can work in an environment that best suits their needs and desires. This newfound sovereignty makes accountability even more important. There's no one to hold your hand when you work from home. This responsibility rests solely on your shoulders. It might seem too big of a burden to bear but don't worry. Let's look at how you can ensure accountability without stressing yourself out.

Accountability And Software Development: An Integral Partnership

Software development is a complex process. Accountability plays a crucial role in ensuring that projects are completed. What happens if accountability isn't at the required level? It can lead to missed deadlines, poor software quality, and dissatisfied customers.

When developers are accountable for their work, they are more likely to take ownership of their tasks. It's even more likely they'll work diligently to accomplish them. By defining goals in detail, developers can focus on what needs to be done and when. Creating and sticking to a schedule can help developers meet their deadlines. Not only that, but it'll ensure they deliver high-quality software. Tracking progress can even help developers identify areas for improvement.

So, here are some things you can add to your toolbox as a professional that'll help you stay accountable.

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define your plans, including the required tasks. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  2. Create A Schedule: Schedule your tasks and deadlines, and stick to them. Use a calendar or planner to keep track of your schedule, and set reminders to help you stay on track.
  3. Track Your Progress: Keep track of your progress and assess how you are doing. Use a progress tracker or a journal to document the steps you take. Review it regularly to identify areas of improvement.
  4. Use Accountability Tools: Use tools like to-do lists, project management software, and accountability partners to help you stay on track. To-do lists help you organize your tasks. Project management software enables you to manage your projects. Accountability partners provide you with support and motivation.
  5. Celebrate Successes: Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, to keep yourself motivated. Celebrating your wins can help you stay positive and focused on your goals.
  6. Learn From Failures: Learn from your mistakes and use them as opportunities to grow and improve. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Just be sure to learn from them and use them as opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge.
  7. Be Honest With Yourself: Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and take responsibility for your actions. Don't blame others for your mistakes; take ownership of them and use them to improve yourself.

Context Is Important With Accountability

Look, the reality is accountability stems from self-examination. It's absolutely ok to be fallible and admit when a mistake has occurred. Bringing a nuanced perspective helps shed that mistake in a new light. The right amount of context must be applied to every situation. That includes when you're trying to hold yourself, or even your teammates, accountable. Gerald Kraines has a great quote in his book, Accountability Leadership: How to Strengthen Productivity Through Sound Managerial Leadership, where he says the following, "Holding people accountable after casually tossing a goal or task to them - without setting the context, securing the necessary resources, and providing the proper structure - is destructive." This is about a person in a leadership position. Still, the mindset can be applied to your situation. Failure is a part of everyday life, and holding yourself accountable includes admitting your faults. But that means context and situational awareness are also vital. There's no reason to spiral into a negative mindset here. Being accountable is excellent; make sure it doesn't lead to negativity. Properly investigating and understanding your responsibilities will keep you in a positive headspace. This, in turn, will make accountability more accessible.

Take Your Time; Practice Makes Perfect (Or Close To It)

Accountability, like anything else, can be improved over time with practice. Everyone's approach and effort level will differ. Additionally, it would be expected that someone 40 years old would have a higher level of accountability than someone 16 years old. Time helps nurture those abilities. Your starting point may differ from someone else, and that's ok. Either way, the critical thing to note here is that not only does accountability take effort. It also takes practice. Something you think may be helpful could be negatively impacting your accountability. These life lessons occur all the time. Utilize this newfound knowledge. This mindset exists even in academic settings, as discussed in this Skill IT article, "Teaching productivity and accountability involves practice! Improvement comes from practice, so showing young people how to prioritize the tasks they are required to complete, to set goals that are SMART, and to plan well and to allocate and manage time according to the demand imposed by the task to be completed. If young people learn these skills, they become good at managing projects."

Decide What Accountability Means To You

Anyone can look up the word accountability and apply the definition they find to their life. There's nothing wrong with this mindset. However, such a binary approach may hide other vital aspects. Each person's actual implementation of accountability will look different. Find what's best for you. You must meet quality and timeline expectations; that much can't be changed. However, the nuance you apply when approaching the situation might make it even easier to hold yourself accountable. The tips listed above are just a drop in the ocean of possible habits you can build to help you stay accountable. Do some research and examine your approach. In time, your level of accountability may surpass even your expectations. The associated benefits will then be yours to appreciate.

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