How to build great web development teams
Your client calls you to say that he wants to change the colour of the submit button in the Contact US page. But he doesn’t know whom to contact regarding this. Would he contact the front end developer or the backend?
In a development team where the team members are aware of each one’s duty, the task will be easier. The client just has to let one person know his requirement, and it will be taken up and passed on to the right people. So how do you build a rockstar web development team? You need a strong, coherent and cohesive team of developers who will help build great products, and maintain it.
The three main ingredients in creating great web development teams include flexibility, positive vibes and transparency. This three would help you hire the right people for your job. Now keeping these three in mind, try the following tips, and you are likely to get a high quality web development team for all your projects. You may have to mix and match your team members because there is one size fits all team, so it is imperative to keep these points in mind:
Proper collaboration with the engineers
In many companies, there is a lack of collaboration with the management team and the development team of engineers and developers. So you have to empower them to produce the best. Developers are not people who take orders and execute them, they have their opinions on how a project should move forward. So hear them out, and make the process employee driven. Let them create roadmaps, set priorities, and present them to the senior management and project leaders. Perhaps, they might even have a better plan than yours.
Make sure the developers have greater business visibility
The ultimate goal is for your technical team to have a deeper understanding of the project so they will help achieve business goals. You might find yourself cancelling the evening family dinner and having a dinner meeting with a new employee instead. Or perhaps stand by your team when they are trying to solve a problem rather than going on a movie outing with your best friend.
Targeting the two cores: technology & culture
In order to have a successful web development team, you’ve got to target the two core areas that is really going to affect it – the technology and culture.
The culture side is so simple. You need to build relationship with all the employees in your company. Plan workshops where all the employees join in for games, parties etc. This would help in facilitating collaboration among themselves. This will loosen the ties (shirt ties) and strengthen the ties (the bon/relationship) with each other, and with the management. They will feel they are part of the company, with every fibre of their being.
You can start by building an API first culture on the technology side. This would help your team members to leverage each other’s projects and build integrations with other teams.
Shaking up roles
You may have to shake up roles a bit if you want the team to handle unexpected problems quickly. To do this successfully, you may need to cross-train the team, where multiple developers work on different areas of the project, thereby catering to the redundancy demand when it comes up.
Mixing up the different teams
Facilitate cohesion among team members by mixing them with each other so each of the teams can discuss their problems with each other and come up with novel ways to solve them. For example, if you run an ecommerce store, you can have your mobile team, API team and the ecommerce team all meet with each other to discuss their work challenges and focus on solving them.
You really need competent people to build the various members of within a single web development team. These are the people who act out crucial roles in the working of a project: Project Manager, Web Master, Application Developer, Systems Administrator, Graphic Designer, Project Management. Each person has their important roles while working in a small to medium sized company.
The attitude of people within the team
The importance of attitude can never be undermined. One team member’s disposition towards certain may determine how he values the team’s work. It also shows how the person handles code problems. A bad team member attitude can wreck the entire team performance, especially if competition and undermining another’s work bubbles within him. In a team, ideas may come flying from all directions, but it is also important to choose the most feasible & valuable ones.
For example, one person may doesn’t like a component , but you need it because it helps avoid cake hacks on top. Or perhaps, the framework that you enjoy doesn’t add the extra dependency. These are areas where you have to decide what’s good for the team. When the team members brainstorm on ideas, it is the brain that should be functioning, not the ego.
Some projects may require extra hours of work, even if it is Christmas. This may not sit very well with team members, who may have family members flying in from other places for a reunion. Plan work so their holidays don’t get affected, and if the work encroaches into Christmas or Thanks Giving, make sure you make it up to them by supplementing it with celebrations. Make what could be a real drag could turn out to be something that leads to positive memories and bonding. This will provide valuable refresh to their minds, and they will come back with vigour. To help with the bonding bit, you can also encourage your team members to work together for a global cause, or support a community.
While building an affective team, it is important that everyone within the team grows. Everyone cannot be a leader, but then everyone may have ideas that take the team forward. Having the right attitude, the ability to find solutions, recognising common ground, and becoming a selfless programmer is important to work with one another in a web development team.
Flickr.com // Familiar, European Southern Observatory, Sableman