It’s easy to get distracted by fancy words and a laundry list of accomplishments, but a software development team is, at its core, a team. When selecting your software developers, skill is important, but so is the ability to collaborate; a team that works well together can outperform a group of individual rockstars any day. When considering how to build a software development team, it’s crucial to find people with the right mindset, and provide a collaborative working environment that ensures the integrity of your intellectual property.
Qualities of An Exceptional Developer
When deciding how to build a software development team, attitude should be on the top of your checklist. Whether it’s friends, family, or coworkers, one person’s attitude can dramatically change how everyone around them views a situation. Ideally, there would never be any hiccups in the software development process, but that’s wishful thinking. A team can easily be disheartened by unexpected challenges, but if everyone has a good attitude, obstacles become interesting problems to solve.
The right attitude isn’t just about positivity, it’s also caring about the project and its outcome. Great developers see every application as an opportunity to blow expectations out of the water, and they’ll go the extra mile to ensure that they do. You don’t want your development team thinking of your software as just work, you want them to be as excited by its potential as you are.
Communication skills should be a priority in any team, but this is especially true in software development. Building an application is like playing three-dimensional chess; it takes an excellent communicator to verbalize the problems they see, explain possible solutions, and break down their thought process to those who don’t yet see it. When a good communicator doesn’t understand a concept, they know how to ask questions for clarity; when they do understand the concept, they know how to answer those questions for others.
Those who know how to build a software development team understand the importance of communication. A team that communicates is a team that collaborates, and when you’re solving a novel problem, you want as many minds working together as possible.
Time Management Prowess
We all know someone with an ‘it’ll get done when it gets done’ mentality, but if that person is your software developer, you could find yourself in a world of trouble. If the software takes significantly longer than it was projected to, it could completely throw off your timeline for launching. Luckily, great developers are great at time management, and they should have regular team check-ins so that they can inform you of any changes to the schedule as soon as they become apparent.
A Critical Thinker
Critical thinking is a cornerstone of software development, it’s what building an application is all about. Strong teams see problems before they arise, can view things from other perspectives, and are open-minded to the concerns of their teammates. The difference between a good developer and a great one isn’t the ability to think critically, it’s the ability to do so constantly. Stand-out developers analyze every decision to ensure that it truly is the best solution, guaranteeing you the best possible results.
Both A Student and A Teacher
The software industry revolves around innovation, so a software developer is constantly learning. The best developers, however, are those who actively seek opportunities to grow and share their knowledge. When you’re deciding how to build a software development team, it’s important to factor in how each team member can contribute to the success of the group as a whole. Ideally, every member views themselves as both a student and a teacher, hoping to advance their team’s expertise across the board.
Empathy might not seem like an essential trait for a developer, but it’s absolutely crucial. Software is meant to be used by people, and the developer needs to understand how a user will interact with the program, what they are trying to accomplish, and how to make it as easy and intuitive as possible to do so.
How to Create A Collaborative Environment
Identify Individual Strengths
In virtually any workplace, recognizing an employee’s individual strengths will make them feel like a valued member of the team. Empowering employees in this way lends itself to improved morale and more willingness to speak up when they have ideas or concerns.
Having a solid understanding of your developer’s strengths also makes way for more balanced teams. If each team member brings something different to the table, everyone has an opportunity to learn something new from their coworkers.
Set Realistic Expectations & Clarify Goals
Part of learning how to build a software development team is setting that team up for success. Unclear expectations are extremely frustrating for employees, and they can be stressful too. Not everyone needs a detailed schedule to stay on track, but most of us need at least some structure if we’re going to complete a project on time. There’s a lot that goes into building world-class applications, so it can be helpful to set regular check-ins and break down the timeline into small chunks. This way, people know where the project stands in relation to where it should be, and they can make adjustments before it’s too late in the game.
Have Well-Defined Roles
Well-defined roles, both formal and informal, help to mitigate confusion around who’s doing what. Clear roles also allow employees to take on more personal ownership of the work they do, because they know it’s significant. In the unfortunate case of inter-team conflict, roles can be a good way to get back on track; everyone should know what part they’re playing.
Software is all about innovation, so of course, you want to be working with innovators. A workplace that fosters innovation highlights the people who come up with new and interesting ideas – even if they aren’t very good. As the platitude goes, the best ideas often come from the worst ones. By rewarding innovation and celebrating creativity, employees feel empowered to go against the grain and come up with solutions that no one has tried before.
Build A Strong Sense of Community
To create a truly collaborative workplace, you’ll need a strong sense of community. This goes beyond everyone getting along and being polite; a sense of community requires care and respect. Sometimes this means team building exercises, other times it means encouraging people to get to know one another outside of work, and occasionally, it means updating company policies to create a more inclusive environment. While community may not seem like an essential component of how to build a software development team, a company culture that makes going to work feel less like work always pays off.
Build An Exceptional Team With Vice Software
Whether you are deciding how to build a software development team from scratch, or just looking to expand the capacity of your existing team, Vice Software has everything you need to build exceptional software. How do we do this while maintaining our competitive rates? It’s simple. Our lean, distributed development model allows us to employ talent from all over the world – so you get the very best developers at a fraction of the cost. Ready to make some magic with a rockstar development team? Contact us for a free quote today!