14 tips to help you build a great software development team


I have been working with developers for over 7 years so what in my experience does it take to motivate and recruit good developers and create a great development team.

  1. Pick people who are passionate about something this does not necessarily need to be related to software development. Having such a trait will add to the mix of your development team.
  2. Try to pick people that add different dynamics to your team look for potential as well as experience in your hires.
  3. If you inherit a team with disruptive individuals they should be moved to another team as they will ultimately stop your team improving and hinder greatness.
  4. Developers want to write code not write requirements or project manage – make sure that they are only doing this as much as is possible. Agile methodologies advocate this. Developers are not QAs or business analysts.
  5. Developers like to have clear goals both for projects and what the value of features are to the business and / or end user.
  6. Creating software is an art therefore good developers want to be challenged and be creative in the solutions they build.
  7. Developers do not like to be asked when something is going to be ready every 5 minutes and especially with a manager standing over their shoulders.
  8. Developers will make assumptions when they have insufficient information and therefore you need to coach them to ask questions when appropriate.
  9. Like any employee you need to understand what makes your developers tick, what challenges them, their strengths and how they can improve their technical and soft skills.
  10. Truly great developers are great communicators so look for these skills and hone them.
  11. Ask developers for their views on how things can be improved.
  12. Pay attention to your developer’s life outside of work, having this insight will mean you will understand them better and can build rapport which will help you deliver projects effectively.
  13. Create an environment where developers can interact with each other and relax when they need to. Get a table football table and coffee facilities are a must. 
  14. Celebrate success and acknowledge outstanding contribution. This can be something as simple as buying ice cream on a hot day.

Some of my tips above have been gained from my experience leading agile teams and the adoption of an agile methodology such as Scrum. The secret to building any great team is to build rapport and see things through their eyes that way you can understand the reasoning behind their decisions.  If you achieve this you will be rewarded with a loyal, self-sufficient and successful team.

Posted on June 1, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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