Building a capable dev team – strength & empowerment

Photo by Jason Eppink   – CC BY

This post is a continuation of the series on how to build a talented and capable technology team.
Part 1 on Internal vs External teams
Part 2 on Hiring

Strengthen your team

With an internal team, it’s not enough to hire quality talent and fill the roles with responsible, capable people.  The team is like a dynamic living organism (after all, it is made up of people), and they all interact and communicate with each other.  If you want long-term success, it is critical that your team has a great working environment and has confidence in each team member.

Capability

No one wants to be on a team where they feel like they are pulling someone else’s weight.  In that same way, it is also important for everyone to feel like they have an opportunity, and that all of the good tasks don’t go to other people.  To this end, everyone on the team should be confident in the capability of everyone else on the team.

If there is a team member who is under delivering, eroding the team culture, dynamic, or communication, find the problem quickly and eliminate it swiftly.  Whether the individual needs to be warned or removed, behavior that is toxic for the team cannot happen.

Empowerment

Give your team a voice and empower them to make decisions that drive the project forward.  There is some overall strategic decision making that must happen at the business level, but there are smaller software decisions that the team can own.  Allowing the team to use a new tool or technique allows them to be creative, and that is critical for your long-term success.  Giving the team more control will also give them more responsibility.  If you’re hiring the right kind of people, that will be taken seriously and they’ll have the best interests of the project and organization in mind when making those decisions.

Don’t Micro Manage

Good people want to do good work, and if given the freedom to do so, they will impress you every time.  Just like creating a positive physical working environment is important to a team’s success, positive and creative management creates a successful environment, too.

Conclusion

This series turned out to be quite a bit longer than originally expected, but the topic is pretty broad.  This series scratches the surface on some of the experience and findings I’ve discovered in the process of building development teams.  Hopefully these insights provide some guidance for businesses building a new team or enhancing an existing one.

HI! I'm a software engineer, bootstrapper and lean business geek. I'm passionate about building software and businesses. Here I share my tips on validating, developing, marketing and growing SaaS ideas. Learn More...

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