A good software development team is not something that just happens on its own. You can have the most seasoned professionals in the industry, but putting them together and expect to be more productive won’t really work. It takes more than just skills and knowledge for the team to be effective. Communications, company culture, people around you - these and many others are the factors that can make or break the software development team’s success.
But once you found that secret combination that unlocks the full potential of your team, it becomes unstoppable. A caring and dedicated team can truly benefit a project's success as well as the company's growth.
With the growing needs of your businesses rises the necessity for a bigger team that can accommodate them, but how do you infuse it with new talents without interrupting the well-established processes and operations? This is not the case when just hiring and introducing a new software engineer that would magically increase work output by 20%.
When growing a software development team the management often faces rather common challenges: finding the right talents, optimizing existing workforce, budgeting, finding the right moment to do it, etc. And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the successful growth of software development teams, these 5 tips might help to simplify the process.
When the time to scale comes you want to make sure that you are keeping the best talents in the team, the ones that are more efficient and can lead the rest of the team members by a good example. Adding new professionals to your team means that for some time the performance may take a dive as new team members need to adjust and get used to the new environment.
Great teams are not something that you can force together. By creating a supportive and creative environment, helping to strengthen the weak spots and discover individual talents and endorsing collaboration, we can provide the teams with the foundation for their growth.
What all leaders want to see their team be a success, but the question is what defines a successful software development team that is ready to grow and take on more responsibility?
Common goals and vision
Alignment with a bigger vision and mutual goals helps all team members work in the same direction to achieve the best results for the project. Combine it with a strong culture within the team that binds members closer together and does add a certain element of fun to work.
Al teams are different: some need more freedom and self-organization to perform their best, some require more direction and supervision to rely on their leader, but in either scenario team members need to know their individual contribution to the common cause and how they are helping the other to reach their goals.
Clear roles and responsibilities
While the goals in the team are common, everyone has their own area of responsibilities. It is important that all members of the team trust their companions to play their own role in getting things done. While collaboration lies in the foundation of the team’s success, recognizing individual roles in the process is essential for the professional growth of each specialist in the team.
Where an individual professional could have gotten away with the bare minimum of communication, teamwork requires ongoing contact and collaboration in order to perform effectively. Of course, software engineers have their own area of responsibility, but the team as a whole working for the mutual goal needs to communicate on a high-level.
Efficient communications don’t only include open contact and conversations 1-1, it also involves asking and giving constructive feedback, working through conflict, trusting other team members with your opinions and ideas.
A team that doesn’t know how to do this effectively will only get messier when new specialists join it. It’s the team leader’s responsibility to note the weak spots in the team’s communication and help team members improve it. Not being able to share and explain an opinion, silence and conflict avoidance are all signs that communications within the team are experiencing a downfall.
Growing the team
When it becomes clear that you don’t have enough talent to supply all your business needs the time comes to scale your software development team. However, instead of increasing the headcount within the team, think of other options to optimize the processes and increase the work output.
1. Outsource tasks
Just as we mentioned above, building a well-functioning team takes time and effort and bringing new team members on board would require going through the process of adaptation all over again. That could result in a plunge in productivity, a need to restructure, and takes the focus off of a growing number of projects for a while.
Instead of disrupting the existing structure that proved to work well, consider outsourcing some of the work to a third-party agency or software engineers. Have your in-house talents focus on the tasks that really matter for the success of the project while relieving them from time-consuming tasks that wouldn’t require their level of expertise.
2. Think Agile
An agile approach to software development has gained a large number of supporters over the years and while it is not a panacea to every kind of project, the elements of its methodologies like Scrum and Kanban can be incorporated to improve the effectiveness of teamwork without adding new people to the team.
Agile methodology helps teams meet business needs, which makes it perfect for expanding businesses that need to respond to the challenges of scalability. The traditional waterfall model project management model doesn’t offer that much flexibility and can slow down the development process, while what businesses need is continuous delivery that would allow the early release of the product to the market and faster generation of ROI.
3. Opt for a distributed team
Finding the right talent to add to your professional collection can be challenging for a business. Above all, you want to find the right person that would bring your team to a new level, but the local market doesn’t always have enough options to choose from. Building a distributed team can help to overcome this obstacle.
Access to the global pool of talents allows businesses not only to choose from a larger selection of specialists but also meet the salary expectations better while giving new employees a chance to work remotely, which for many software developers is a valuable incentive when choosing a new job.
Managing a distributed or fully remote team requires more effort from team management to make it work - from providing the remote employees with necessary technology and infrastructure in order to operate effectively, to daily management and communications. And while it might not be the easiest task, choosing a distributed team could aid greatly to the increase in productivity and work results.
No matter which way you choose to grow your team’s effectiveness, it is important to keep in mind that the key to the business’s success is the people who are working for it. By giving them growth opportunities, support, a collaborative environment, and fair treatment, you can expect a great return on investment in people.