How to Build a Strong Product Development Team from New Hires

Did you know product development is not the same as product management?

Product management is a single role that’s focused on developing the product’s strategy whereas product development is all about the broader process or method for bringing products to market that involves a whole team.

To build and ultimately release a great product you’ll need a motivated and talented product development team that combines skill, with character and company culture. No easy feat, but one that’s definitely doable!

Here’s how you can build a strong product development team from new hires:

Know Who You Need On Your Team

The first step in building a product development team is understanding your exact requirements. The more specific you are, the better team you will create.

For example, do you need a database developer or a front-end developer? Are you in need of a web designer or do you require a web developer?

Most product development teams will need to fill the following roles:

  • Product manager
  • Project manager
  • Software architect
  • Market researcher
  • UI and/or UX designer
  • Software developer/s

Some teams might require the addition of dedicated testers and DevOps engineers.

Once you’ve clearly defined what skills you need on your team, you’ll have a better chance of building a strong product development team, and you’ll know the right places to look to find those particular skill sets.

Know Who Should Lead the Team

A team leader is the backbone of any strong product development team. An exceptional team leader will know how to effectively communicate project goals to the team, foster healthy team dynamics, coordinate team tasks, and keep track of project milestones.

To select the right candidate focus on their:

  • Technical background
  • Soft skills
  • Personal strengths
  • Style of thinking
  • Work ethic

Don’t be shy to recruit people at the senior level. Having a very experienced senior team lead or and a senior developer on your team establishes a stronger connection between a software development team and the client because these people understand the ins and outs of company processes and they can emphasise the most significant advantages.

But here’s an interesting rule of thumb: don’t hire a big team of senior developers. Having one or two senior roles on your team is an asset but only employing rockstars can result in repeated disagreements. Developers with extensive backgrounds are more likely to stick with the methods of work they are used to, and this can cause team rivalry. It’s a better idea to form a balanced team where other software engineers can fill in team gaps.

Know Where to Look for Your Team

Now that you know which roles are needed on your team and you’ve outlined the candidate specifications, it’s time to deploy your search strategy. And the best part? It can be free, just leverage the power of the internet!

For example, you can use LinkedIn to create a referral chain and source talent through networking with your contacts. What’s more, sites like Facebook can help you promote your company and culture, drawing new talent to you. Plus, there are excellent niche networks and groups where you can find talent for specific roles.

There are also many websites dedicated specifically to software developers and open source projects such as GitHub and Stack Overflow where you can easily find great talent.

And there’s always good ol’ fashioned in-person networking. For instance, you can attend a hackathon, which is a fantastic way to network with exceptional talent and industry experts.

The other option is to choose a boutique agency (like ours!) who have these types of people on their books to choose from.

Know How Your Team Should Work

Many team leads and project managers use Scrum to keep teamwork synchronised and flowing smoothly. Scrum is a project management framework with a focus on accountability and iterative progress toward a specific end-goal.

Scrum states that you should begin with what can be seen or known. Then, monitor the progress and make tweaks as you go. When using Scrum everyone has a role, and they stick to it. Scrum’s three pillars are transparency, inspection, and adaptation - and this framework is often part of Agile software development.

Agile software development focuses on the people doing the work and how they work together. Agile is all about collaboration and the self-organising team. That doesn’t mean there aren’t managers or team leads (besides the ‘Scrum Master’ or the person leading the Scrum meetings) it just means that the teams are allowed to figure out how to best approach things on their own.

Agile and Scrum will help you build a strong product development team from new hires because they let your team know how they should operate and they’re useful frameworks for daily catch-ups, making sure everyone is on the same page, and they even help team building too.

Know Your Product Roadmap

In the early stages of team development, it’s particularly important to introduce your team to an established roadmap. Your roadmap is what keeps your team in the loop about your project. Your roadmap should clearly highlight the project’s objectives, required resources, and future prospects.

A reliable product roadmap will let your team know how to manage software development, it will specify the amount of work required, and what methods need to be implemented to achieve it. Your roadmap should also include priorities, milestones, and approximate timeframes.

Note that a product roadmap is not as detailed as a release plan and a product roadmap should be updated continuously as things evolve with the project.

In Summary

So, to build a strong product development team from new hires it’s imperative to understand the specific roles your team needs, who should lead the team, and where to find the talent you require.

Once your team is formed, establish frameworks and roadmaps to keep your team running like a well-oiled machine. When everyone has a clear understanding of the work they need to do, you reduce the risk of running into problems and increase your chances of meeting your product’s goals and deadlines.

If you’re looking for a team of first-class software experts across a range of different roles, CodeFirst can help. We offer premium software and web development services. Our expert team will deliver second-to-none solutions that improve performance and increase cost-efficiency. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.