Software development is a lot about codes, programming, and abstract concepts, but it also requires the work of a well-organized group of people. And, when it comes to people, things can sometimes get…messy. So, how can you create a work environment that results in great work? Here are some tips that we have learned over the years...
Choose the right people
Everything starts with the people. Choosing the right team members does not only mean getting together a group of talented professionals and expecting them to “do their magic”.
As a Staff Augmentation company, when our clients request engineers to join their team, we carry out a careful selection process to make sure that we are adding the right skills to the right team. This involves not only how we see each team member, but also how they perceive themselves and where they feel most comfortable at work.
Obviously, being able to do this selection requires previous knowledge of your people, training your recruiters to see the best skills and traits in each new company member, and knowing all your staff’s strengths and weaknesses. This can not be done overnight: it is a process that should always be “on”, so that, when the moment comes, you can choose what is best for your client.
Encourage team building
Especially at the beginning of a task or a group assignment, one of the key objectives is to create synergy among team members. Some people may know each other beforehand, but maybe this is the first time they work together. Or, perhaps they have worked on other projects, but here the roles are different. Or they may not know one another at all.
So, one of our first goals should be making sure that this group of people coming from different backgrounds, cultures, and maybe even countries can work together bringing each other’s best potential to the table.
What are the keys to a great team? In our opinion, good communication and mutual trust. So, devoting the first stages of a new team to building the team’s relationship is never a waste of time. It is, for sure, the best investment to make sure things move forward as smoothly as possible. At Virtualmind, for instance, we have a special budget dedicated to Team Building, and our awesome People Care department who organizes different activities aimed at improving team relationships.
Deal with conflict wisely
Of course, conflict will arise. Disagreements, different perspectives, delays, or even personal problems are somehow inevitable, so you should not be surprised -or worried- when they appear. If you act correctly, however, you can use conflict to your own advantage, helping your people grow and learn problem-solving skills.
You can also take some anticipatory steps to avoid future conflict. Here we would like to mention some of the most common sources of conflict, so you can be on the lookout and take preventive measures:
- People may have different expectations regarding the scope and approach to the project, so it is always useful to set clear grounds before we start working.
- It may not be clear “who calls the shots” and who makes the final decisions, and this may lead to several misunderstandings.
- There may be internal conflicts among team members.
When you know the most common sources of conflict, you can deal with them in a better way, solving them when they appear, and not once they are deeply rooted.
There are so many things to take into account when we work with people, but, one of the greatest lessons we have learned is that we can not stay passive and expect things to “turn out right”. Both leaders and team members need to take an active role and join every step of the team process, making team synergy a priority in our daily tasks.