Building and Maintaining a Software Team


Building and Maintaining a Software Team

October 18, 2019 | Education

Creating a new software product is hard work but has the potential to pay dividends. If you’re not engineering the product yourself, building a successful partnership with the people writing the code is pivotal to making your vision come to life.

In the best partnerships, you’re passionate about the problem you’re fixing, and they’re passionate about the solution.

Hiring a software engineer or developer

It can be a challenge to find people who not only have expertise in different platforms, technologies, and application types but also complementary skills and ethos to yours in manifesting a streamlined, high-standard product.

  • Don’t go into the hiring process alone
    Even if you’ve carefully thought through the tech-specific skills you want to interview for, a second opinion might help you to interrogate the answers if you haven’t held that role before. Find a mentor or peer who can sit in and support you to find the right person for the job. 
  • Set an appropriate test
    Stay clear from coding tests you find on the internet. Instead, ask candidates to solve a real-life problem–it will show you more about how they think.
  • Don’t worry about hiring to a specific program or tool
    Hire the person for their fundamentals. A software developer will be able to easily pick up a new program or tool, but good design and architecture are skills it takes years to develop. That being said, the person should have experience in your general area (like web-based products, apps, or voice).
  • Find a question-asker
    It’s vital in a role like this that the person asks clarifying questions when there’s ambiguity because a product build is a complicated project. You need a partner, not an order-taker.

Like in every industry, talent begets talent. If you find a great engineer you’ll attract other great engineers or developers. Don’t rush and invest the requisite resources in this crucial part of the process. In a survey, developers valued a smart team and people almost as much as a fair salary (44 percent and 45 percent respectively).

Creating and maintaining a software team

According to a HackerRank survey, a flexible and learning-driven workplace is key to retaining the most talented people.

  • Foster an environment where learning is queen
    Virtually all professional engineers or developers continually learn new skills informally and are fastidious about sustaining their professional development in a quickly-changing landscape. Support your team with teach-ins, hackathons, online courses, and peer-to-peer training.
  • Know that change is a constant
    Agility is built into engineers’ DNA. There are lots of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles of creating and responding to change. Make room in your organization for change that is adopted gradually and iteratively.
  • Be flexible 
    A recent report ranks “engineer” as one of the most common work-from-home job titles. Let go of some of your learned notions about what a workplace should look like and trust in the passion and dedication of your team to work from home, from another state or country, or on their own hours.
  • Make creating a robust workflow strategy together job #1
    Having a software-development workflow that the whole team can get behind will be the pillar of a flexible and agile work environment. 
  • Avoid task-switching
    For many entrepreneurs, the ability to task-switch is a boon, but for people unpicking complicated coding issues, the distraction can be really detrimental.

Finding and retaining talented staff in any business can be a challenge. If you have any ‘gold-star’ communication tips for working with a team to manifest your vision, let us know. We’d love to use your advice in a future blog post.


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