Behind every significant innovation, you can bet there’s an awesome team that did the job of delivering it.
Although there are many types of teams for all types of situations, it’s safe to say that engineering teams who deliver the highest quality products are those who are motivated by results and are high-performing in nature.
Teams like these don’t grow on trees. As well as being experienced and results-oriented, they need to have bought in to the product vision and be committed to working as a team, not a collection of individuals.
1. They will push you to thoroughly understand your goals before kicking off development
2. They will focus on the tasks that move the product towards its goal: delivering value
3. A results-focused environment will boost employee morale, engagement and loyalty
4. People are empowered to be the best they can be in a safe environment
5. It exposes weak links in the team
6. Higher-quality outputs = higher customer profits
As the tech world has evolved, so have market expectations. We used to marvel at new technology just because it was cool, new or flashy. High failure rates have taken the shine off. In fact, less than 3% of new products are successful, which translates to billions of dollars spent on initiatives that never realise their value. This means people and companies have to be less excited about new tech and more focused on how tech helps to deliver value. Engineering teams have to change their focus away from their individual contribution and towards their role in the end-to-end product development lifecycle. They need to look beyond the limits of today’s tech so they’re not just asking: ‘Can it be done?’ but: ‘What do we need to make this happen?’ This shift in mindset is how you start to create high-performing engineering teams. That thought process can then be structured around several cycles of Ideation, Validation, Build and Feedback.
The idea that a development team is made solely of engineers writing code is wrong. Agile methods put the onus on the team, not the person. These teams need to be filled with individuals who are passionate about mastering what they do and always grasp at the opportunity to learn new skills. A great team will gladly incorporate skill sets from other members of their team – understanding business strategy, product strategy, design and marketing – to further enhance their own abilities.Being part of a high-performing team isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes experience, skills and drive from every person involved.Through learning, the team and its members become better and better, able to more rapidly solve problems of varying depth and impact. These types of problem-solving skills deliver more complete features in a shorter period of time.A high-performing engineer makes sure to reduce the amount of tech debt they create along the way. They always keep in mind the end goal of the project. They know that solving the problem is only a small part of the task – the real challenge is solving it in a way that will not slow them down in the future.
Ensure that you have a clear and well-communicated company strategy that provides meaningful direction to all levels of the business. However, simply having your team members aligned to your company vision is not enough if they are working independently (ie. inefficiently) towards that goal.To achieve optimum results, team members need to trust each other and feel safe. A culture of open communication from the very top-down allows all departments to understand each other’s objectives. This enables them to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other – giving them the security to learn more effectively from each other through productive conflict. And productive conflict makes for better solutions and results.
A further element in delivering success is making sure the team knows where they’re heading – the ultimate problem to be solved or the ideation statement. It’s not important merely to lay that out early on, but to repeatedly demonstrate and reinforce that vision via iteratively delivering real, usable value. Not only does this iterative approach keep the product on track and rapidly deliver value, but your teams can quickly see success from their efforts, which keeps them motivated.
You are only as good as the people around you. By treating your teams with respect, by being transparent and communicating openly and honestly you can turn good developers into great ones. There's a hidden bonus too. Not only will your teams be more effective, they will be happier and more inspired. Who doesn't want to work with happy, effective and inspired people?
Talk to us at ProArch using the form below about our engineering teams, and how to use our best practice to build and nurture your own world-class team. If you'd like to know even more about approach to product engineering, you can do so here.