Great teams aren’t born — They are made, plain and simple.
Putting a team of professionals together will not produce a great team either FYI. It isn’t enough to lock them up and give them a deadline to meet. A great team is as much about how they interact as having mad skills to code and then some. Only great teams will produce the workload in the timelines needed.
How we get to that efficient team will come later on below…
The main reason projects fail is loss of confidence in the projects’ own success. An unsurprisingly high number (75%) have admitted to knowing their project was destined for disaster right from the start.
How can this be? For a project to function properly, the team must be aware of all processes, duties and responsibilities and equally important is knowing they have the skillset to do it. It is your responsibility to be the one convincing them of that.
Ok now let’s look at ways to put together a great team:
Where oh where do we start?
It may seem foggy at first but knowing where to start makes all the difference in the world. Knowing what you need will help guide you to knowing where to find your team members. Jot down what the business task is that the team needs to solve. Is it front or back-end development? What’s your new teams’ role? As soon as that is understood you canstart getting your team in order.
Let’s look at an example. If your task is to finish up or to fix another person’s project, you will need to examine existing code and understand the complexity of changes made. In this case it means getting only the front and back-end developers involved at first. If it is determined that test cases are needed, then bringing aboard a QA to back up the project will be required. Now if this project is one to be worked on from scratch, then two back-end, one front-end, one QA and one project manager should do it.
Your team is good to go now? Your next step is defining the team’s objectives and/or the results. The goals and tasks at this point should all be transparent and clearly understood. These can be done based on business goals and adapted for all processes within the team.
Building an effective team
These five key points will help you to create a successful development team:
As important as it is to be smart about identifying each of your team members skills and assigning them matching their abilities; it is equally important that each team member appreciates each other’s functions on the team. It is your responsibility to ensure personalities do not clash, instead that they actually complement each other. The closer the group, the greater the chance of seeing goals hit.
2. Locating the right individuals
Choose your team members who are able to bring varied experiences to the group. It is helpful as well that they bring varied perspectives along as the more areas you cover, the better the chance your product will have to launch with the least amount of issues.
3. Delegating should be natural
You need to let go and delegate. It is your role to ensure your team can do their part. Once the goals and guidelines are set, let them do what they need to do. By delegating authority and providing the tools needed to your development team, the greater the trust will be and the more confident your team will feel.
4. Keep track on progress
Everything within reason. Trust is built but at the same time, parameters originally laid out must be met. For this, you will still need to keep an eye out to ensure the project stays focused and on track. Make use of the tools you had mentioned regarding how concerns will be shared and when project updates will be regularly discussed. It’s a good time to do a check-in on the team to see how well they are working or if role reassigning is necessary. Make sure you also let the team work-out any issues (under your guidance if need be). It is normal for groups to come together better after facing challenges on the way.
5. Celebrate the wins
When your team hits a milestone, even better when they exceed the milestone, celebrate it together. Encouraging your team on project goals reached enhances confidence and trust as well as incentivizes the team to continue stronger than before.
Responsibilities to the development team: Keeping them strong
It is one thing to create a winning team and another to keep it moving operationally. Project managers will need to pay attention here on how they structure workflow and arrange or delegate tasks.
Team development is a process that focuses on individual members interaction and interpersonal skills.
By focusing on these, you will end up with enhanced performance, stronger team engagement and highly motivated team members. By using specific inputs like a project plan, project documents, and tools or techniques like colocation, rewards, assessments, team skills etc. and some outputs as well including plan and document updates, change requests etc. all contribute to successfully running your team over the long run.
Think of this process as a data-flow as well. Yes, it is based on project management, but it also takes on environmental factors and (if needed) organizational assets. This is all used to manage the team and project, control and changes, update information documents etc.
Summing it up
Your team leads will need to inspire your teams to hit the goals that have been set. They should be able to build great teams on their own. They must be able to put the foundation together like a jigsaw puzzle with each piece fitting perfectly as the goal. Each team will reflect each unique project. Along the way they will be providing feedback, celebrating wins, setting challenges and helping the team to grow, improve and learn.
Using these skills will always ensure team spirit and effectiveness are maintained throughout the project:
- Open and effective communication
- Enhancing trust between team members
- Team-building opportunities
- Constructive conflict management
- Collaborative decision making and problem-solving
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Band of Coders Show is a podcast dedicated to helping software developers problem-solve their biggest leadership challenges. We talk leadership, productivity, team building, effectiveness, and much more.