How to build a great team
Type in “Great Teams” into Google and you’ll get a million results on the importance of building a GREAT team, the need to build a GREAT team and the failure of not building a GREAT team.
Great products are the side-effect of great teams
Notice I didn’t say…
Will know C#
Will know Design Patterns
Will be an SCRUM Master
Will code with IDE version xx.xx
Will have 5 years experience with Python
Will be a Unit Test Ninja
They don’t matter
All those skills don’t matter to building a great team.
Those are all LEARNED behaviours that anyone can learn.
Don’t believe me?
Peope still read!
So what does make a great team?
(To name a few)
But – if we were all the same, we would be a pretty boring and pretty useless team.
Which is the opposite of a great team
We don’t want to wilt and shrink, we want to grow and expand.
So, the questions then become
“How do I build a great?”,
“What do I need to set myself up for success?”
“What should I look for?”
The following are the skills and traits I think you should be looking for when hiring people.
YOU NEED A HULK
Because you need someone who is not afraid to SMASH through a problem with willful abandon and ignoring the consequences.
These people help break the problem barrier and push you through to the next level.
These are the late-night riders that never stop, they take caffeine and push until it's done.
When the rest of the team needs a break, they don’t stop pushing till the they break-through the wall.
You need a flash
There are people that can do the steady state and push out consistency, but sometimes you need something done yesterday today – this is the Flash.
You call the Flash 5 minutes to Keynote to fix a broken demo.
Where the Hulk SMASHES, the Flash BLAZES a trail
The Flash doesn't stop for anyone, if you can't get on the train, the exit is to your left, he's got a job to do and he's not slowing down for anyone.
You need a Spiderman
You need the steady-state player, the one that is always Pushing Tin.
Dedication, Responsibility, Persistence.
Spiderman knows people are counting on them and Never gives up.
He might not break the wall or rip through their sprint the fastest – but he’ll make sure it’s done right, taking the time to work with others and build the team.
And everyone needs a joker to keep things light.
You need Dr. Manhattan
Because someone needs to ask the hard questions that no one is thinking about.
Someone needs to push everyone's thinking from the current level to the next one.
This is how a team grows, they question, they learn, they push, they improve.
You need the person that is thinking about the EDGE cases, contemplating user scenarios and the next few releases ahead while working on the current problem.
You need a BATMAN
I know you were all waiting for this one.
But you only need Batman for one reason as illustrated here.
There are no fancy skills or gimics save one – “Keep the Team on Point.” -
No refactoring for the sake of refactoring, no forgetting about the bugs in the quest to get it done fast.
What no leader?
They are all leaders for different scenarios
Need to make the hard call to undo a month’s worth of hard work?
Need to ship a BETA to a customer tomorrow?
Need to keep product shipping when chaos is all around you?
Need to establish next year’s vision for what we want to accomplish?
Need to keep the focus on next year’s budget planning session and not this week’s bean bag chairs?
A great team rotates through the opportunities realizing that not everyone is an expert at everything and we all have certain skills to best suited to certain scenarios.
These skills and character traits matter when hiring people, they are what build a great team.
Everything else is a learned skill.
Create the right team and they can learn and build anything.
Lastly, don’t build a team on…
Choice of Restaurant
Favourite Breed of Dog
Video Game Skills
These are all distractions to the ultimate goal of creating the best team possible. They have no place in influencing your decision to select a team and only serve to limit your choices.
You want the best… so pick from the best.