How to Build a Software Development Team?

by Anna Khrupa on Mar 11, 2022

Initially, this question may sound like something pretty easy to deal with. Thousands of HR specialists all around the world carry out this task on daily basis. So, obviously, it seems there has to be a universal solution. However, you may be fairly disappointed to find out there is no common approach to managing this dilemma. 

The first and, probably, the most important thing to establish is that every single project you develop is absolutely unique. Consequently, it requires a specific set of task-targeted professionals. You may disagree by providing your argumentation with examples of teams that have been successfully working for years with the same composition of members. Undoubtedly, such teams exist, and there are plenty of them, but these groups normally work on similar, routine tasks and have standardized approaches.

If you are taking over a fresh interesting project, it is really unlikely that you will be able to make do with only existing staff and methods. So, to build a dedicated software development team, you should be ready to change, adapt, and work hard. In this article, we are going to provide you with step-by-step guidance on the way to your perfect software development team.

What to Start With When Building a Software Development Team?

Maybe, with hiring? Definitely not. Start with the current project needs and requirements analysis. You have to dig deep into the heart of it, establish basic necessities, and try to predict the upcoming issues. Organize meetings and Q&A sessions with the product owner and gather as much information about the product as you can. When you have all the necessary data, try to assess the amount of potential work waiting for you. By doing this, you will be able to estimate your available workforce and professional capacity. After the analysis is completed, all gaps will come to the surface.

Now that you are well aware of your weaknesses, it’s time to fix them. Again, do not run headlong into hiring. Gather your top specialists and team leads, state the current professional demand, describe and clarify what exact kind of specialists you need, starting from professional skills and finishing with personality type. This way, you will outline your potential software development team structure. Then, hold a meeting with HR specialists and equip them with the precise requirements so that they may start their search.

Hiring Members of a Software Development Team

Human resources department tasks are getting more and more complicated because they have to find a perfect candidate who will be matching all the necessary requirements. The complexity of this search results in an extremely long hiring process, which consequently damages the quality and slows down the development of the project. As you may see, it is a vicious circle. What’s more, potential employees may get tired of such a long journey to the company, which may end with passive engagement in the project or even resignation.

Key factors of successful hiring are:

  • clear requirements (both professional skills and personal characteristics)
  • fast middle-level technical test
  • face-to-face or online meetings with an HR specialist, a team lead, and team members.

Such meetings are always a win-win deal since they guarantee mutual understanding to a candidate and a team about whether they match or not. As a consequence, it saves up a lot of time because if it comes out that the new member doesn’t fit in the team, you won’t waste time proceeding with hiring. So, the most important thing HRs have to keep in mind is: no matter how skilled and talented a candidate is, if he or she isn’t a team player, they won’t cut it.

When building a software development team, HRs also have to consider such vital qualities as proactiveness, ability to take responsibilities, readiness to push beyond their current limits, and desire to do better.

Communication and Relationship in a Dedicated Software Development Team

Now, when you have your team assembled, you should remember — it is quite raw. Its members do not know each other really well. They may be shy or not have enough confidence for productive communication. That is exactly where a new stage of work starts. To simplify and speed up the “stormy period” in the team’s development, it’s necessary to:

  • Specify each member’s role in detail and explain what exactly you expect from them. This will bring confidence and clarity.
  • Encourage them to ask questions and, in turn, provide them with the most precise answers. Whenever an employee has a doubt, it needs to be voiced. It’s much better and more efficient to solve a potential problem at the very beginning rather than let it grow into a big bug.
  • Boost inside-team communication, trust, and mutual support. Even though each person has their own clear task, it’s crucial to encourage inner communication among the members of a software development team. Perhaps, more experienced professionals have already dealt with difficulties that arose during the work of novice developers. Providing colleagues with expert advice assures friendly relationships and family-like bonds among the members.
  • Hold meetings discussing progress, mistakes, and feedback. Do not underestimate the importance of the meetings: if you delay them, your chances of facing bugs, misunderstanding, tech debt, and re-work increase automatically. 
  • Inspire workers to look for creative solutions and pick up challenges together. No doubt, overly creative solutions lead to system complexity sometimes. But at the same time, this helps the team learn from their own mistakes. So, they will easily avoid them in the future. 
  • Acknowledge and celebrate successful steps. It is incredibly important to demonstrate an appreciation for the work your employees do. This way, they feel useful and valued, which will motivate them to work even better.
  • Empower your team. All the previous actions lead to this one. Team empowerment guarantees that its members share and follow the same goals and ambitions as the whole organization. They do not work in isolation but operate pursuing the company’s interests that equal their own, as far as they feel like part of a big family which works, improves, and thrives together.

Transparency and clarity are our best friends when setting goals for a software development team. When employees know their assignments and feel support and trust, good results would not take long to arrive. Empowering is vital here. Team members must be free to come up with ideas and have the right to implement self-made decisions after receiving the team’s approval. This approach assures mutual profit for all the parties. The company delivers an amazing product that satisfies clients’ needs, and the employees increase the pace of their professional development.

Tools and Atmosphere for Building a Software Development Team

After building a software development team and ensuring efficient communication, it is time to take care of the more technical and organizational aspects. The top-priority task to carry out here is to provide your team with a convenient workspace. An office equipped with all necessary amenities is a must, starting from up-to-date technology and finishing with efficient lighting, comfortable chairs, and modern coffee machines.

At first sight, such things as drinks/snacks or comfy chairs may sound ridiculous, but dissatisfaction growing on small inconveniences may create unnecessary conflicts and low productivity. It is also important to mention how different tools simplify and speed up developers’ work. For example, automated testing gives them a chance to identify problems before those get worse.

Talking about the atmosphere, we must recognize the significance of a healthy work environment. This aspect includes:

  • respectful relationship in a whole company, not just within a particular team
  • efficient management
  • regular meetings concerning not only projects or tasks but also the emotional, mental, and physical state of employees
  • reasonable workload and absence of overwork
  • out-of-office meetings, teambuilding activities, etc.

Creating a healthy environment in a workplace is a responsibility that fully lies on a management team’s shoulders. Ensuring proper work conditions for your employees guarantees higher efficiency and additional motivation. Coming to an office with an engaging atmosphere is a blast.

Of course, some of the above-mentioned aspects lose their relevance if we are talking about remote work. However, everything related to communication and a respectful attitude remains especially important, as building a fruitful and productive collaboration within the online mode can be much more complicated.  

Conclusion

Demand for software development services is constantly growing due to the enormous quality shifts in the IT industry. The advancement of technology guarantees the emergence of much more complex jobs, which will require outstanding dedication. Well-experienced and motivated human resources are needed to deal with the upcoming sophisticated tasks. That is a top priority among goals for a software development team nowadays.

As we have outlined in the article, there are numerous factors that add to a prosperous team. Of course, they may vary and change depending on the project, the company’s corporate culture, the product owner, and other external and internal factors. 

However, the value and expertise of cohesive teamwork will never lose their actuality. Do everything in your power to select the best individuals matching the company’s philosophy, help them turn into a team, and take good care of it. Undoubtedly, the productive work of a team partially depends on its members; nevertheless, the other half of it is the company’s responsibility. If everyone does their bit, success is inevitable.

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