Building a team

Not long ago I was honored to presented for a second time on a great on-line conference IT-Brunch. This event was devoted to finding, hiring and keeping right professionals for your team. Here is the slidecast for my presentation (in Russian) where I try to draw analogies between software teams, FC Barcelona and army recruiting. 

Here are some highlights:

  • Job market for developers suffers from the lemon problem on both sides: there are not only many less competent developers, but also there are lots of crapy developer jobs. Every day makes it even harder for a good developer to find a decent job, and vice versa.
  • When you set out on a journey of building a team, first think about what you plan to achieve with this team. Winning school championship is very different from selling girl scout cookies: different goals, different teams, different approaches to building them.
  • Make team part of the hiring decision.
  • Hire for a specific position, not a generic job description.
  • Look for new team members in the company first. And, as a consequence, do not be afraid of letting people go to other teams.
  • Be honest on the interview: do not promise a candidate something, which will never come true, simply to get him in.

Part Time Agile

Recently I presented at IT Brunch online conference with a talk about experience of my team doing part time agile development. Here are some highlights:

  • On a personal productivity level do not mix narrow focus tasks like fixing a bug in code with wide focus activities like contemplating about future of technology in your niche.
  • If your team is distributed in time, but not in space, which is not unusual for a team of parttimers or freelancers, give yoursleves a time to get together and just talk (you can eat your lunches at that time too).
  • It’s hard enough to do even one big thing, let alone two. Don’t try to focus your effort on several major features.
  • General management practices still work: if you are a manager, have one-on-ones with your team members.
  • Do not neglect up front design and specification development. There are situations, when it’s easier to try to foresee a problem, than try to resolve it.
Check out the entire presentation for more ideas (narration is in Russian):

There was a questions on where to get more information about one-on-one meetings. I suggest you start with One-on-Ones: The Single Most Effective Management Tool and check out other podcasts on this topic from Manager Tools.