Tips for Building a Successful Software Development Team
When technology companies hatch a new product, one of the most crucial things to think about is to build a software development team of reliable experts with excellent skills. According to Statista, the global developer population is expected to reach 28.7 million people by 2024. This number is quite impressive, however gathering professionals is never an effortless thing.
In fact, recruiting and building a high-performing software development team is a very stressful and tricky affair. Businesses need to dive into many aspects while making a functional and successful software development team, such as project type, team size, personality, communication, etc. Therefore, many companies choose to hire a dedicated team as a feasible solution to cut recruitment costs, waiting times, and to get products to market faster, etc. Some might turn to the IT Staff Augmentation Model to expand their team. The way you choose to build your team will be different depending on the development purpose and potential of your company.
To help you out, in this article we are going to share with you some tips and surefire practices that will be of service to build a great software development team and bring out the best in them. Thereby, your business will soon take a notch up!
What is a software development team?
To define it in a simple way, the software development team is a group of talented developers or product engineers, involved in creating IT products or technical projects. They apply their knowledge of engineering and programming languages in software development to ensure delivering your ideas and thoughts into the real working product. In other words, they are a team that is pulling the strings at every stage of your software development process.
Tips for building a successful software development team
Define team size
The size of a team is a very important key affecting a team’s productivity, so this should be the first thought of any team builder. Primarily the team size will depend on many other factors such as the project complexity, budget, available resources and deadlines, etc.
However, the most optimal scale for an IT project to start is within 4-5 people. With such number of members, the focus on the project is proved to be higher, each member will fully immerse themselves into the project’s details. The sense of responsibility of each individual will also increase as they all contribute towards the common goal of the whole group. More importantly, this scale allows for seamless connection and communication among members, thereby improving productivity significantly in the working process.
You may have heard about The Ringelmann effect, which describes a common productivity issue when working in groups – increasing numbers of people is inversely proportional to job performance, and this is due to two main reasons: loss of motivation and problems related to coordination. In fact, it is never wrong under any circumstances!
“One team should be small enough that it can be fed with two pizzas” – also a famous the two-pizza rule said by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. But if you have already decided that your software development team need expansion, then you must be sure to have an effective management process to capture the productivity and results of the team. Actually with a larger group, the individual contribution to the group becomes smaller and cooperative communication becomes a serious problem. However in this case, it is smart to split the team into smaller, independent cross-functional teams led by team leaders.
Define the roles and responsibilities in software development team
Another critical step in building a successful software development team is to clearly define the team structure and roles. This helps determine the responsibilities of individuals as well as of the whole team, which allow for effective development. However, the team’s composition will highly depend on the purpose of your software development process. Here are the typical technology-centered roles as well as responsibilities of an engineer team:
- Product Owner (PO): representing the client, in other words they perform as the voice of the business and ensure that the team builds the right product to meet the company’s ultimate product vision. In many cases, the PO is the customer himself, because above all they understand their product the best.
- Project Manager (PM): being responsible for the execution of the project from beginning to end. They will lead the entire team of developers and be accountable for the deliverables. More specifically, a PM will manage the project, anticipate and solve any risks that may arise, ensuring the project is delivered on time, on budget and within the right framework.
- Technical Lead: being responsible for the entire tech project, supervising the technical direction of the group. At the same time, technical leaders are often highly skilled and experienced IT talents, so they also play a very vital role as a mentor to developers and support them throughout the process.
- Technical Architect (TA): making important and high level design decisions regarding the internal structure of the software system and its technical interfaces. TA is the one who can define what tech stacks to use and review the code to guarantee the quality of the design.
- Front-end/Back-end/Full-stack Developers: are the people who will bring “life” to the product, they apply their knowledge of techniques and programming languages in software development to build programs and software on technological devices such as computers or phones or develop and maintain existing software. Front-end developers will be responsible for the development of building user interfaces and architecture of the user experience; Back-end developers will make sure the server, application, and database communicate with each other, maintaining the technology that powers those components, allowing the user interface of the website to exist. And finally full-stacks developers do both front end and back end, they can work cross-functionally on the technology stack.
- UI/UX Designer: are people who specialize in designing user interfaces/experiences for products and ensure its aesthetics and usability.
- Business Analyst: plays an important role in both the technical and business aspects of the software development process. They will analyze the client’s business needs, map out business problems, opportunities and solutions, as well as planning, budgeting, and reporting.
- Quality Assurance (QA)/ Product Tester: Before the product is officially launched and used, QA is the person responsible for verifying and testing the quality of the software, for example they will check if the features are causing any bugs in the existing and functioning system areas. From there, analyze the test results and find mistakes at the early stages of software development.
Hire the right people
Any technology or software product certainly will be created with human hands and minds. Therefore. the software development team that you assemble will determine the success or failure of your projects. Choosing the right team members is much more likely to find perfect partners that will assist you in bringing your vision to life.
A detailed and well-structured hiring plan is one of the crucial parts to build a collaborative team of skilled developers, which involves identifying those individuals having the right mix of qualities. While screening potential candidates, besides their technical expertise in the field, you should also focus on their personality traits and ability to fit into your company culture. Some traits of great developers you can consider when hiring them:
- Great minds, great attitudes: There is nothing better than working with people who are always enthusiastic and eager to work with their colleagues to create great products. Besides, people who always keep a positive attitude when working will bring more productivity, easily get along with people and avoid causing unnecessary conflicts. Plus, the creativity and initiative in work is also one of the important evaluation criteria for you to know whether that person is the chosen one or not.
- Team players: The success of the software development process is directly influenced by strong communication and connection between team members, to work together towards a common goal. Therefore, you will definitely want to possess technology talents with excellent teamwork skills, in addition to strong communication skills to share experiences and listen to teammates’ opinions.
- High adaptability and eager to learn: Well-rounded devs are always sensitive to the changes of technology and are constantly learning to expand their knowledge beyond the boundaries. Besides, it is also important to adapt quickly to the company culture and working environment.
Promote a mentoring culture
In this tech-driven environment, mentoring is a very important part of a developer’s career. Scaling a team should be accompanied by ongoing employee development.
Therefore, to enable team members to grow on their own terms, and expose them to new technologies and processes they may not be familiar with, a business should foster a culture of mentorship between members together. Team members can learn from one another and mentor one another. Also there should be a combination of technical expertise with mentoring and leadership within the group.
Encourage innovation and continuous excellence
The world of technology is limitless, ever-changing and constantly improving. Hence technology companies need to relentlessly update and upgrade their processes to easily adopt and adapt to each different stage of development.
This also means that, throughout the process, developers should be empowered and encouraged to try new things, thereby fostering members’ dedication and freedom to share ideas. Boosting creativity and innovation helps generate new ideas, speed and improve the team’s development performance to reach full effectiveness.
Consider Hiring Remotely
Today’s global pool of tech talent is so abundant, companies can take advantage of this by hiring remote workers. In fact, this is no longer a strange model in the technology industry. Many companies have chosen to hire remotely as one of the best solutions to cut costs and expand the scope of recruitment with a more diverse selection of candidates.
Building a successful software development team is certainly not an effortless thing, but it is not necessary that you create your in-house team, but can flexibly choose a well-experienced technology partner to do it for you. Thus, your company will not have to worry about recruitment procedures, payroll benefits administration or many other costs incurred. And if you need to build a team of talented remote developers, then Fram^ is the perfect partner for you.
Striving to improve communication within the team
The success of your software development project depends directly on effective communication and team members getting along. Transparent communication and two-way interaction between team members can accelerate project speed, promote creativity and work efficiency.
Businesses need to nurture and encourage communication within the software development team. And certainly it will be inevitable when there are conflicts or arguments in the process of teamwork, but the important thing is that the resolution must always be based on respectful communication and understanding.
More importantly, communication needs to be fostered not only in the relationship between colleagues, but also in the relationship between superiors and employees. No matter how talented your engineers are, if they do not feel any sense of care or any sense of belonging, it can definitely lead to project failure. Therefore, communication in the group is not only about constant exchange but also about the care and active listening from the leaders.
Build up the team’s culture
When building a software development team, it is definitely impossible to forget about building the team’s culture. Generally, your team’s work culture will need to align with your company’s values. But you will also need to decide what kind of culture you want for your software engineer team from the start. Listing the attributes that define your culture and setting clear goals will help.
A work culture that helps your software development team excel on projects, be efficient, productive, and follow a clearer process. For example, you can maintain a culture of exchange and communication among members by holding daily scrum meetings. Accordingly, meetings will take place at a fixed time of day and in daily scrum, each member has to answer the following 3 questions: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What is hindering work? This is an opportunity for your developer team to update each other’s work progress, share about obstacles in the working process, and plan to complete new tasks during the day.
Just defining such a simple work culture can significantly contribute to improving the quality of work, teamwork, encouraging members to exchange knowledge with each other, and especially improving the quality of work and common sense among members.
Set a clear career path
The team members will certainly look forward to receiving guidance that will help advance their careers. Hence, a clear career progression path is indispensable when building your software development team. This also encourages the efforts and dedication of the members to achieve new steps on their career ladder. As your team members know what their future career would look like, they are more likely to trust and commit themselves to the company.
Software development needs a skilled team who will incorporate all of your requirements from the growing stages to finished product and turn a profit. Knowing that building a successful software development team from scratch is not easy, we hope the tips we gave will be helpful. However, the list of tips above is only relative, not a complete guide to building an effective software development team. You should also keep in mind other factors of your company when deciding to build a software development team such as finance, management capacity, company culture, etc.
If you need more advice on how to build an effective software development team, we’re here to help. We pride ourselves in our solid expertise in building and growing teams of versatile and multi-talented programmers. Most importantly we have been a trusted software development partner for many large companies around the globe, providing them with a team of qualified software developers on demand and our achievements exceed expectations. We are ready to do the same with you!