Hiring skilled people is important, but even more essential is how you nurture their skills and allow them to be the best version of themselves on the job. You may not be able to get there instantly. But once you do, it will be absolutely worth it.
Here are all the tips and tricks you need to build a high-performance software development team for your projects.
Define the development team type
Before you start recruiting people, you need to decide on what type of team you want. Having a clear structure or at least the idea in place can play a huge role in getting you the right talent. Here are the three main types you can choose from:
As the name suggests, generalists are usually jacks of all trades. They have a broad range of expertise and can usually work on all parts of projects and develop end-to-end solutions. The downside, however, is that they lack specific skills to work on complex projects, as their knowledge is often limited to the surface level only. So, if you’re planning to create basic software with little complexities, you should go for generalists.
Specialists are polar opposites of generalists and are usually highly skilled in a particular field. They can address a specific part of the process and deliver higher quality work. Since specialists mostly lack the understanding of the end-to-end process, they have trouble understanding the requirements of other parts of the value chain. Still, since they are really good at what they do, you can always train them to understand the process from a holistic point of view.
Hybrid teams have the best of both worlds. They have generalists who understand the complete process and specialists who are skilled in parts of the process. Generalists with good leadership and communication skills are usually assigned the roles of team leads and project managers, while specialists use their skill set to execute those projects. Hybrid teams are ideal for all types of projects but are usually harder to put together and more expensive to retain.
Define the software development team size
Once you have the type down, the next step is to decide how large the team is going to be. Unsurprisingly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this decision. All it comes down to is how big of a team you can afford and what your project requires, at the very least. Other factors such as the complexity of the project, deadlines, and resource constraints are also important and need to be considered.
If you’re a fan of the infamous Scrum methodology, seven is your ideal number, but anything between three and nine is equally good. Again, the key here is to get the most out of what you have instead of just recruiting more and more people, hoping they will swing a magic wand and complete all your projects in the blink of an eye.
Establish roles and responsibilities of a successful software development team
No matter what type of team you build, it is highly unlikely that all of them will automatically gel together and distribute work according to their skills. Thus, you may need to do that for them.
Having clear roles and responsibilities can boost the productivity of your team as the members will know what is expected of them and won’t step into each other’s territories. Here are some common roles software team members play in completing a project:
A product owner translates the goals set by business stakeholders to a software team. This person is responsible for planning the scope of work and getting tasks in the backlog executed.
A project manager is an on-field leader who makes the team accountable for the deliverables. This person also manages communication with the client, handles documentation, budgeting, and signing SOWs.
Business analysts bridge the divide between IT and the business, facilitate a solution for stakeholders, monitor processes, outline requirements, and use data analytics to deliver data-based recommendations.
UI/UX designers are responsible for the ideation and implementation of an optimal user experience through a visually appealing and easy-to-browse interface. They optimize the usability of the software you’re developing not for the client but the end-user.
Software engineers are the backbone of a development team. They are masters of the language the software is going to be built on and handle front-end, back-end, or both.
A QA engineer finds and fixes errors during the whole development process. This person removes all bugs and ensures that the software performs as expected when it goes live.
Scrum masters ensure that the project follows the Agile methodology. Their role is to make sure that the Agile principles are followed by both the development team and the client, and the sprints are not interrupted by unexpected revisions or additions in requirements.
Team leads also lead the team on-field, but contrary to project managers, they take care of the technical side of things. Normally, a senior member of the development team is assigned this role because they better understand how to distribute tasks and get work done timely.
A chief architect is a technological consultant who advises your team on complex technical tasks. In larger organizations, they are also responsible for managing the collaboration between different departments and multiple development squads.
Now that it’s clear who needs to join you on your project let’s check how you can build an outstanding development team.
How to build a successful software development team in 5 steps
Here are five quick steps you can use to build a strong dev team:
Step 1: Create a strong company culture and stick to it
Making people work together on complex projects for a long period of time can be tough. You need a set of values, appreciated behaviors, and cultural guardrails so that everyone knows how to work together.
The most important part is ensuring people stick to these values in all their dealings, no matter what position they hold on the team or how senior they are to their peers.
Another thing you should note is that company culture, for the most part, can’t be forced. Different people bring different values to the table and have different social behaviors. The key is to accept diversity, promote inclusivity, and set a cultural baseline that everyone is supposed to follow.
Step 2: Hire a development team
The next part is recruiting the people on your team. A good idea is to hire a team already in business and get them to do your projects. The second option could be to build the team in-house by hiring people for individual roles.
1. When hiring a dedicated team, make sure you look at their previous work and client testimonials. This team is fully focused on the project and works on it exclusively, full-time. They report directly to the client, and the client themselves controls their workflow and prioritizes tasks for them. Get in touch with Geniusee if you’re looking for recruiting services, administrative support, or other resources for building such teams for your projects.
2. Building teams in-house is an expensive but more reliable alternative since you’ll be able to recruit every person yourself. This in-house team may also stick with you for a longer time than the dedicated team you hire for a specific project.
In both cases, before you proceed, make sure you sign an NDA agreement with the parties involved so that your data stays protected. NDA agreements normally cover such aspects of the development process as the procedure of data collection, transfer, access, and more.
Step 3: Evaluate and cultivate soft skills
A well-rounded software development team has a good mix of both soft and technical skills. You should work on the emotional intelligence and social skills of your team so that they can learn to interpret social cues better and collaborate more effectively.
The best way of doing this is increasing cross-department communication so that the team members get to interact with all kinds of people and familiarize themselves with different points of view. You also need to look out for different personality types on your team so that you know how to talk to each individual effectively.
A good example of a wisely built team is Google. The company credits all of its success to how great its people are. Google’s most effective teams consist of employees who socialize outside of work and hence are good communicators within their projects.
Step 4: Establish tools and a work schedule for your team
While building a work schedule for your team, you should be aware of how much of a workload each team member can handle and what their expertise is. You can use different project management, testing, or dedicated development tools to manage their work schedules.
It is also important you provide your team with the resources they need to complete their tasks. This could include any hardware or software requirements or even financial resources such as proper budget allocation.
Step 5: Prioritize communication
Communication is something that makes or breaks a team. It is a prerequisite to collaboration and an essential factor in ensuring your team’s success. Besides having good regular soft skills, make sure you discuss problems with your team openly and in a mature way.
Never avoid or delay difficult conversations as they only get more serious with time. Also, try to talk your way out of most problems instead of taking actions that you might regret later.
You’ve chosen the roles, you made up your mind whether you need to outsource or hire in-house employees, and you set up everything to make the team fly. Now it’s time to understand how you track your team’s productivity.
How to set KPIs to measure the efficiency of your team
Setting up all operations and putting them into action is only one part of building a software development team. You also need to motivate them and monitor how well they are constantly performing. For this purpose, you can evaluate them on a wide range of metrics. Some factors you might want to assess regularly include:
Employee satisfaction and well-being
The productivity of your developers will be affected by how well they are doing physically and mentally. You can start with questions such as “Do you enjoy your work?” or “Does the work feel fulfilling to you?” This part can also include ensuring no one feels exhausted or burnt out.
The performance of the dev team members could be based on technical KPIs such as reliability of their code, absence of bugs in the program, or the overall service health. For non-technical staff, this could include the level of customer satisfaction achieved, the adoption rate of their products, etc.
To monitor the activity level of your team, you can simply list and count the number of tasks each one of them completes in a day. The tasks could be further classified by their complexity or the time it takes to complete them.
Communication and team collaboration
The softer side of their personality cannot be judged in objective terms. All you can do is talk to your teammates and coworkers to see how well they communicate or collaborate. You can choose to do these feedback sessions anonymously or not according to the norms of your company.
Efficiency and workflow
This metric shows how regularly a person can get work done in one go without getting distracted. You can also introduce a system to time their work but avoid getting into a lot of micromanagement.
The success of your software projects is 100% dependent on the quality of the team you have. So make sure you spend quality time at each step of the process and give equal importance to every single resource on your team. Once you have the right people on board, communicate with them clearly and try your best to remove any obstacles they face in their work.
If you want to hire a dedicated team for your project, you can always check out Geniusee’s services. We can help you get the professionals you need within the right timeframe so that you can make your projects a success.