Software development projects are now an essential part of many industries and countless businesses. Companies of all kinds and all sizes need to develop software for their international purpose or in order to provide a service to their customers and clients.
Setting up a successful software project team is often more challenging than you’ve planned it to be. Things are made more difficult with the fact that such projects often require hiring help outside of your own main team and this creates friction and additional challenges.
The Business Side of Things
It’s important to make sure that the team is on board with the business side of things. The project is about creating software and therefore solving a particular problem. However, the team or at least the key members on it should be aware that it’s a business matter and that they need to produce a product that generates profit.
That way the end goal of the project can always be kept on everyone’s mind and particular IT decisions can be taken with that in perspective. Things often get off the rails when the IT is driving the process.
Knowing the Industry
The team should also be aware of the industry in which you’re working. That way they can take into account what the industry standards are and what your competitors have to offer as well. The team needs to have an understanding of the industry that goes beyond the IT side of things.
That’s why outsourcing the project can be a good idea since an outside team has usually done similar jobs for other companies working in your industry and your area. This may be a more expensive option, but that way you’re paying for the expertise.
Does Your Team Have the Tools?
Finding the proper tools needed to manage and complete such a project may be challenging. There are review sites such as Truely.com that can help you with that if you plan to do the whole process on your own.
However, sometimes that’s not an option and you may need to hire someone outside of your own team. That way you can make sure that they have the toolkit they need and your own company can manage the business end of things and work toward a desirable outcome.
Being Engaged with the Project
It’s important to keep in mind how personally involved in the project you can be. Sometimes managers and CEOs aren’t able to engage with such a project personally due to the lack of time or due to the lack of technical skills involved.
When this is the case, you should pick the team so that it can work on the issue without your supervision. Finding a team that deserves such trust can be difficult and more expensive than you’ve otherwise may have planned. On the other hand, working on the project personally can take you away from other important tasks.
Having Proper Communication Processes
Once the team is set up you’ll need to set up clear channels of communication. Other than the common communication channels used by the team internally, you’ll need to find ways for the team to bring an issue to you. There needs to be a clear policy that determines when the team should work on its own and when your input is needed.
The key here is for the team to be aware of the limits of their role. This can be a somewhat challenging process on a personal level, but if it’s done right and on time, it creates a productive work environment.
Letting the Team Confront You
Even when the lines of communication are clear and when everyone involved knows who’s responsible for making a call, it’s still important to have a team that challenges you. This is a part of the development process. You’ll decide against an idea and the team should be there to defend it and change your mind.
It’s essential that they feel comfortable doing so and that they are aware that it is a part of the process. This may be another argument for hiring an outside team for this purpose.
The importance of a project manager can’t be overstated. The main issue when it comes to the software project team is whether you should set up a separate project manager for that team or not. If you decide to do so, there’s also an issue of whether that’s going to be someone within the team or someone you’ve appointed.
The manager should have a background in IT in order to be able to effectively lead the team and plan its work. They should also have a clear idea of what your business goals are and how the software helps achieve them.
The team needs to be scalable and able to grow. You should be able to add new members as they are needed and to find them a place in the team without too much disruption or hand-holding. Hiring an outside team can somewhat limit this ability since those teams usually have an organizational structure of their own.
An alternative to scalability is the ability to outsource parts of the project without hiring anyone new yourself. There are advantages to this as well as the problems that aren’t always easy to predict.
The Ability to Make Mistakes
Software development is often a creative project, at least to some degree. That means that there’s trial and error to it and the team needs to be able to make mistakes and have fun with new ideas. It takes time and effort to develop such relationships and pre-packaged teams may be better at it.
It’s also useful to invest in the HR process and team-building activities. Sometimes these feel a bit gimmicky. However, they are anything but, and they can help create a more productive and more collaborative team. That’s an investment that’s worth making and that can lead to a better product in the end.