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Building a Team

Written by Peter Gilg on - like this:
building a team

This article is not about the usual subjects, like motivation, communication etc. What I’m talking about is consciously planning to build, improve and measure key metrics of a development team. Often times, teams get built over time with little awareness of their dynamic. “We’re swamped, we need a javascript developer”, or “For this project, we got to add another dba” and so it goes. Before we know it, the team has grown and if we don’t define the values of our dream team, changes are we end up with something entirely different.

Defining core values and strategy

What are the values or our so called Dream Team? That is likely going to be different for any leader, but the point is we should think about it and clearly define them. For my teams, I have usually valued these criteria such as : upbeat dynamic, proactive communication, over crossing skill sets, flat hierarchy. These properties tend to translate into: support and mentorship between all members, communicate with and guide external teams, such as product and sales, developers can rotate or at least partially take over other’s work and team members feel equally responsible and empowered.

Yours might differ from mine, but for a second think about your team. Is this the team you would build or want to be part of, if you had to start over? As a prospective developer, is this the team you want to spend a third of your life with?

Building a team

With the core values defined, let’s define the criteria of team members start building the team. I like technically smart and knowledgeable developers, but I’d rather support one or two technical weak spots in favor of an upbeat personality with a good sense of dependability and responsibility. Again, the criteria may vary, but the result should become adjusted points of traits and interest when hiring or evaluating team members.

Measure output and efficiency

Once a team is established (it never fully is, but let’s set threshold that makes sense), let’s define measures based on our core values, and measure at predefined time intervals. This may be four times a year, two time for an established team or once a month for a startup hiring actively. This will allow you to observe your team’s dynamic and adjust accordingly. After all, nothing can be more damaging than ignoring a team member that poisons a teams spirit.

Adjusting and fine tuning a team

Don’t be afraid to adjust. We should all thrive, be enthusiastic and excited about our daily engagement. Taking action is usually mutually beneficial, even if it doesn’t seem like it for the individual at the time. But in reality, an unhappy team member is likely to find something more rewarding, even if he’s is the passive element in this change.

Building a team is not that hard, but building one that lives up to our values and eventually improves over time is much more proactive work.

Listed in Management, Web Development

Tags: development, team

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