Software Development Team
The number of developers on the modern market may be high but building a powerful team of programmers is still challenging. We have prepared five useful tips on how to form a software team that will be productive, self-sufficient, interested in your idea, and motivated to hit your business goals. If you want to delegate hiring to people who built dozens of products from scratch, head over to this website, though).
There are plenty of aspects to consider when it comes to forming a strong team of programmers.
Know who you need to hire and how you want to work with them.
If you want a mobile app, you can choose between development for each platform separately (Java or Kotlin for Android, Swift for iOS) or for two platforms simultaneously (Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, and other cross-platform and hybrid tools) — that’s two people or one person to hire.
Then, you might need UI and UX designers to model your interface, a UX researcher to give designer data to apply in design, a business analytics specialist to plan the whole thing and keep you updated, project manager… And we’re up to our next point.
Define the team size. Jeff Bezos follows the “two-pizza” rule. According to the Amazon founder, a programmer’s team should be small enough to be fed by two pizzas. The basic structure includes as many or as few as six valuable and irreplaceable specialists (this man’s team is clearly hungry in this metaphor, though.) Your job here is to estimate (or ask your business analytics professional or researcher) how much time you can dedicate to the project — and how many hands of which proficiency you’ll need in the team. The task is daunting. It’s a good idea to start with the number of people who’ll help you build the main features of your product only (e.g.: your MVP).
Outsourcing vs hiring the in-house team. Outsourcing greatly simplifies the hiring strategy: you don’t look for them, the outsourcing company does that for you — along with subsequent hiring and onboarding. All you need is to find a partner to delegate the development duties to — look up reviews of the company on Clutch or contact their previous clients: outsourcing is super cost-effective, sure, but it can also be risky.
Pricing up the development hires is tough: the final decision on how much you can spend should be made in advance, on the previous stage — when you’re figuring out how much time you’re ready to work on the project. Remember the project management triangle?
If you want fast & high quality, get ready to either outsource or pay up to $120,000 to each senior person in your team. Fast & high quality means they’re experts and are knowledgeable enough to connect their technical work to your business objectives, making the former boost your project to the latter. If you can afford to take it slow, the expected cost will be lower. For mobile projects, it’s a common practice to hire a cross-platform developer first — and then hire native programmers to refine the app on native platforms.
There are lots of fish in the sea — but you need the best catch. How much time should you spend sitting on the shore? Well, the average hiring process in the USA is around 23 days, depending on the complexity of the position. It takes time to find the right fit. One of the biggest mistakes employers make is rushing and settling for the “fine” candidate (who’s not ideal, but will do for now). Don’t do that! Both of you can do better.
Learn more about the specifics of each position, research the average salaries, and compare them to your expectations. Don’t opt for the lowest or highest-paid candidate: money is not always the signifier of quality. Check portfolios! If you don’t know how to determine if the projects in their portfolio are as good/as complex as they say, ask someone who does. For non-technical founders, it’s always better to have your technical friend on a speed dial for these cases (or to hire a CTO).
An extensive interview and a test task are the common tactics to figure out the level of an applicant’s hard skills — and again, if you lack expertise in software development, it’s better to bring a tech friend on board.
Have an ideal employee in mind. It’s useful to define what soft skills and values a person should possess so you’d enjoy working with them. There’s no need to torture yourself (and your future team) with a high-skill professional who’s patronizing or passive-aggressive. Same with people who can’t communicate openly. It’s challenging to pick up on these things at the first meeting, but some strategies help. For instance, pretend to mess up — people reveal themselves when they think they are wronged — or disagree with them on something they solidly believe in.
Don’t forget to provide the team with all they need for a successful and productive workflow. Ask what software or hardware they lack and be ready to get it for them.
In the office, provide your teams with sketch pads or whiteboards, enough space for leisure, and enough privacy (a break room with tea, coffee, and snacks goes without saying.)
Humans build software, so the most attention should be paid to them. Communication and, like, good, not-toxic vibes at work are what you need to maintain to keep your team productive.
Transparency and honesty, two-way communication, trust, and amicable relationships inside the group lead to productive, creative, and joyful work — and results. Every person in a team should feel free to communicate with their co-workers and managers and you. Celebrate their wins, give extensive feedback when they do something wrong, and make sure they know they are valuable to you.
A last thought — it’s a good idea to work through gender and racial biases in your hiring process and make sure subconscious stereotypes aren’t ruining your chance to build an awesome team.
Assembling a team who is interested in your goals, productive, and motivated to do their best is challenging but rewarding. Hope you’ll manage it!