So, you’ve rustled up some fantastic plans for your start-up and you’re ready to have the cash roll your way. You’re bursting with anticipation, imagining how your ideas will change the world. But hold your horses. Where is your developer team? Don’t have one, or perhaps think you don’t need one? That won’t do, my friend. You need people who will take your idea and make it soar! Every start-up needs a developer team. And every great start-up needs an all-star developer team.
Read on for our tips on how to gather the right people and make sure you get gems instead of pebbles.
It’s not the size that matters
You heard me. You don’t need a gang of many if you can find a small group of awesome. Look for skill rather than number – an all-star quartet will put to shame any army of largely-incapable troopers. If it’s someone who knows what they’re doing, work will get done many times quicker, and be of higher quality than if it was handled by a large group of people with few skills.
No, you do not need to ‘speak geek’ fluently, but you should familiarize yourself with the programming language(-s) you’ll be using in your start-up – know your Python from your Ruby. Why? So that they don’t feel like they’re talking to a brick wall, and you don’t stare blankly at them when they try to explain the simplest of things.
They’re your family now
You can’t expect to be treated with respect if you don’t respect them. I know, preachy, but hear me out. Once you start looking for people, treat them as such – people!
Expect and respect differences and make them feel like they’re part of the project, rather than being a disposable item. Just like you they have lives, families and needs. If you show them you understand and respect that, they’ll dazzle you with their work.
Get to know them, professionally
In the interview don’t just ask them generic questions about their experience. Ask them what they failed at, what projects they took part in that didn’t succeed, and why. Have they ever been brought to their limits? How did/would they deal with that? Present them with a task and ask for alternative solutions, not just the obvious ways. Question their choice of technology. Do they know the drawbacks? Could they work with alternatives?
These kinds of questions will reveal the kind of employee they would be – do they tackle the tasks given, or do they try to go around it? Also, it will show you whether or not they’re real pros.
They must understand the meaning of ‘teamwork’
Even if you manage to gather some of the brightest, most creative minds this side of the blue screen, if they don’t know how to work as part of a team your project will end up in shambles. You need people who are comfortable working with others, don’t mind sharing and bouncing ideas off of each other and can follow a lead. You certainly don’t want people who’ll be up in arms every time you exert the slightest bit of authority.
And yes, you should always view them as individuals with particular skills and personality traits, but they must form an organism which, when functioning well, will produce great results.
Change should be welcomed, not feared
This one’s a biggie. Working in a start-up essentially means being hunky-dorey with daily changes. You never know how your idea will end up shaping up. You’ll definitely need to revise your plans over and over again with each turn. Naturally, you want a developer team that won’t run screaming from constant changes. Even better, they should be positive about it, adapt quickly and deal with the changes efficiently.
Look for skill and passion, not a piece of paper
It is absurd how institutionalized this world has gotten, and you will likely not believe me when I tell you – not everyone who went to top-notch schools excel at what they do. Actually it’s more often the case the opposite – if you look for skills and abilities you’ll find people who are much more creative, passionate and generally better at their job than your run-off-the-mill superstar graduate with a shiny degree. So remember to look for someone who loves their job, not someone who can barely cope with it.
As you can see it is as much about you as it is about them. Be prepared, welcoming and smart and you’ll get your A-Team up and running in no time. What are you waiting for? Pass on this knowledge by sharing this awesomely-valuable post now!
Perhaps you have more thoughts on what makes a developer team great? Comment below and help out your fellow hackers!