Good software project teams do not just happen by accident, right? While the task itself may often be more complex and challenging than it seems at first, second, or even several subsequent glances, establishing a good basis in this undertaking is indispensable. There are, of course, several key points to take into account when approaching this rewarding challenge.
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What exactly is a software project team? What team-related roles exist? What are different types and responsibilities of individual team members? How to best approach starting this process? And the list of questions goes on… Let’s take a closer look.
Establish what you are building and who fits your company best
A high-performing software development team must have quality project-related expertise, often stemming from previous project experience, as well as a clear set of targets to meet. Additionally, the team must be highly organized and effective; this means that team members must be well versed in stress resilience, time management, team, and individual work as well as communication skills. While weighing the decision on who should be part of your team, also look for critical thinkers and detail-oriented candidates with diverse backgrounds.
Seek out who fits your company values and vision best, not only with technical expertise but your mission. This is, after all, a good basis for success – it is exactly this team that will shape and bring specific business ideas to life, which is why setting it out properly means to fly or fail. Once chosen, verify and confirm that everyone included in the team is qualified and precisely understands their roles and responsibilities to avoid any confusion or lagging in the workflow. .
Define the size and establish the hierarchy of your team
This relates to different roles in the team, such as Project Owner, Product Manager, Product Manager, Developers, Designers, Analysts, Tech Lead, Product Testers, and more. This list is an incentive to draft a team scheme, keeping in mind your budget options. Look into similar business practices, and debate on budget capabilities, deadlines, internal resources, and the overall complexity of your project. It is also necessary to visualize and develop a team hierarchy.
Consider whether you are keener on an internal or outsourced team, one large team, or one team divided with different team leads. Your team might be made of a) generalists – those with a large pool skill set, b) specialists – team members with a particular skill set, or c) hybrid – a mix of both generalist and specialist skills. A good tip to keep in mind is the now-famous two-pizza rule as portrayed, stating that every team should be small enough that it can be fed off with two pizzas. The point of this idea is to focus on both efficiency and scalability.
Establish business objectives and milestones clearly
As obvious as it sounds, your software project team will not deliver on objectives they fail to understand, which sometimes happens due to a lack of precision and certainty on what they are expected to do. Your end goal must be communicated early, clearly, and consistently. This is a vital step to ensure team cohesion and collaboration. This is also a step that allows for consistent progress and, ultimately, deliverance.
If the team gets lost in translation and deadlines are running all over the place, they will likely be prevented from living up to the task, especially on time. We want to avoid that fuss. This means preparation, communication, execution – on all ends. Whether you’re aiming to achieve security, functionality, usability, reusability, time to market (a.k.a. start to finish), or other targets with your software, it must be laid out at all times.
Invest in effective internal communication & determine risk factors
Effective communication is essential to your success. Even if your team is highly skilled, a lack of proper communication is guaranteed to negatively impact your business objectives. Therefore, ensure that people you are taking on have excellent communication skills and a developed sense for teamwork while making sure that besides communication between colleagues there is good communication between employees and superiors. Additionally, a good and welcoming work environment sets out a good paste for sustainable prosperity and ensures high team productivity.
Invest significant time and management in internal communication, joint brainstorming sessions, and briefings regularly. Risk factors play a huge role in fly or fail, so it would be wise to carry out a prior risk factor assessment and prepare protocols in advance in the case any of the risks you laid out arise. This helps ensure you are one step ahead of the game and well prepared for any challenges that may come.
Look into the needs for team scalability
Some teams start with up to five people, but you might want it expanded as time, budget and needs allow. It is not necessary to have every single expert in your software project team from the very beginning, it is likely and expected you will be increasing your time as the product reaches further phases. Cross-reference your team and expertise from the starting point to your presumed schedule and completion of the project. Perhaps you will be willing to introduce mentoring, as it is an important part of developing. This can also be performed with internal resources and members, so no external factors are required.
Building a successful software project team might not always be easy, but it surely is a rewarding task. While this list points you in several directions regarding different things to keep an eye on, combining it with your own and optimal business practices will provide for the best recipe for success. Best of luck!