Hello, buddies! Most people start out with the goal of creating great products but forget to focus on building the great team they need to successfully execute. Starting with a strong team is how you set yourself up for success. Great teams are the foundation of a successful company. Like small independent startups, they drive innovation from the inside. They are productive, challenging, and fun to work in 😄
But the thing is, making a great software development team is hard. Highly talented people are not enough. So, what makes a Great Team? Scroll down!
1. Common Goals 🚩
Having a set of clear and achievable goals is critical for any team. Before focusing on anything else, ensure that everyone knows what they are aiming for and why. Without this, they will lose their way and become demotivated.
Great teams avoid heavy top-down structure, where only managers care about goals.
Beyond just having goals, great teams promote a sense of shared responsibility.
Everyone on a team feels bought into the team’s shared mission. If the team succeeds, it’s everyone’s win. If they don’t, they band together to find a way forward. They avoid heavy top-down structure, where only managers care about goals. They also know that each team member plays a different role in achieving the team’s goals.
Having teams set and defend their own goals is a good way to encourage this form of accountability. Ensuring team members all share in rewards for success is also a key. Leads should be responsible for ensuring that everyone understands and buys into goals. Answering doubts and keeping the team focused 🔍
2. Teams Succeed Or Fail Together
One of the most important things to understand about teams is that teams fail or succeed together.
You’ve heard there is no "I" in the team, but the truth is much more than that.
Any team where the members of that team feel like they are in competition, or where one member can succeed while the others fail or vice versa, is going to immediately be in jeopardy because it is human nature to serve our own best interests first.
When teams have their fates tied together, and failure or success is at the team level, not the individual level, the best interest of every member of that team is the same as the best interest of the team.
You can set the example by acting and speaking in such a way as to indicate that you believe that the overall success of the team is more important than the success of any individual on the team.
You can choose to exhibit team spirit by slowing down to help a fallen teammate rather than take the gold medal for yourself. One person’s influence and example can be powerful.
3. Effective Communication
Great teams communicate well. They keep people informed with the least amount of effort. Team members understand what they need to do and buy into why they are doing it. These teams create open, safe environments where people feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns. When it comes to dealing with problems they also differ. People are upfront about their feelings and quick to deal with issues. Great teams don’t waste time with unnecessary communication and meetings. They seek efficient ways to communicate and keep discussions focused.
4. Strong Culture
A strong culture is another common characteristic of great teams. They often develop their own rituals, nicknames, and terms. This binds them closer together and makes them more effective as a group. It also makes coming to work more fun and boosts morale as a result.
Paying attention to how people work together and mixing the right profiles can help.
Great team culture is not something you can force. It develops over time and only in the right environment. That said, it is largely driven by the mix of members and leads on a team. Paying attention to how people work together and mixing the right profiles can help. Picking the right team lead and coaching them to think about culture is critical.
A good sign of a strong culture is when teams spend time outside of the office together. Although this again is not something you can force, there are ways to promote it. Things like Friday evening coffees, team-building events, and happy events are some examples. It should be the responsibility of a team lead to promote this kind of activity.
Hashnode Team is a great example of these kinds of Teams 🍻🍻
5. Clear Roles and Responsibilities
While they share common goals, people on great teams have well-defined individual responsibilities. They trust one another to each play a part in getting things done. They hold each other accountable for delivering on promises. This clear definition of roles also spans to leadership. They know who is ultimately responsible for technical, design, or product decisions.
Communicating responsibilities in writing and to everyone is an easy way to set a team up for success.
Ensuring a clear definition of responsibilities is an important part of building a healthy team. It allows people to focus on their work and trust that others will do theirs. It also avoids the misunderstanding and frustration that poorly defined roles can lead to. This is particularly true when leadership is not well defined. Decisions take much longer, outcomes are unclear and people get frustrated. Communicating responsibilities in writing and to everyone is an easy way to set a team up for success.
Also, task management is very important. The team leader should always divide tasks among the team. Trello is a great place for this.
So, buddies, that's it! If we get all these in a sentence,
A great software development team is a team that goes to their goal with effective communication, responsible members with the help of their strong culture.