Best Practices for Building Next-Gen Software Teams

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Content By Devops .com

Technology is moving faster than ever before. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across every organization in every industry. Creating new remote working environments or developing new digital revenue channels has taken place at lightning speed over the past year.

At this time of rapid change, software development teams are continuing to help organizations adapt to our new environment and stay ahead of changing consumer habits. They also have to deal with their own personal situations and shifting organizational priorities – from new COVID-19 protocols to virtual offices.

DevOpsConnect-RSAConference-Christopher-Krebs
Christopher Krebs, former director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency talk about the very real security threat disinformation can cause. Live at DevOps Connect 2021 on May 19.

As 2021 progresses, what are the elements that can help business leaders stay ahead of the latest innovations and build resilient, forward-looking teams? Here are three tips I believe will help build next-generation software development teams.

Put Your People First

Finding the right people is never an easy task. Hiring for the skills you need to fill a role is important, but it’s also necessary to look beyond those requirements. Having the right technology skills is not always the be-all end-all when it comes to hiring. Is this candidate a good fit from a cultural standpoint? Will they be engaged and motivated? Are they interested in learning and growing their own skill sets? Do they have different experiences and perspectives than your existing team members? Each team member brings something special to the table, and treating each person as an individual and as an essential part of your larger operation is crucial. Everyone should feel valued and connected to the company. This is especially true during the pandemic. Managing with a sense of empathy, understanding, and caring helps team members feel a sense of belonging and as though their job matters – because it does. When employees feel that their role is undervalued or unnecessary, they can easily become detached and uninterested. Hiring for the person and caring for your people during and after work hours builds better teams and keeps them connected to the business and mission.

Allow Software Teams to Experiment

Staying ahead of the latest trends and technologies is critical for delivering advanced software. Experimenting and allowing your teams to try new things can go a long way to drive innovation. It gives them opportunities to learn new applications and ways to deploy new technologies. Continuous training is a key part of the experimentation process. Our teams, for example, actively participate in more than 20 events per month. We also invite clients to join and participate, adding another layer of value for our clients. These events come in different forms and settings. They are virtual, gamified and often employee-led. The idea is to create space for open minded discussions, team building exercises and knowledge sharing. For example, our head of digital security leads regular sessions to educate our people on evolving security threats and effective security strategies to defend against them. Adapting to new ideas and building expertise in new technologies require a “no fear” mindset. Having the freedom to experiment and learn from each other provides the framework to keep teams ahead of the latest digital trends.

Empower Your People

Giving team members a certain degree of autonomy and responsibility for decision-making in their daily work improves innovation and productivity. When you empower employees to make their own decisions and decide their own path to success, you create a better workplace culture. At Cinq, for example, all one thousand of our developers know what projects we are engaged with across the company. Not only are they aware of what’s happening, they know the project goals, objectives and KPIs of every client engagement. Team members can request to be added to certain projects and teams at any given time. They may be interested in the client’s business, want experience with a new application or have an idea or suggestion to help us achieve our goals. We also give them the tools and resources needed to successfully manage or lead their own projects, which can lead to massive innovations inside our own business. Empowered employees are loyal, committed and more productive. When employees are given opportunities to work toward their goals and drive their own career, the benefits are enormous.

Staying ahead of new technologies and applications can be a challenge for even the most tech savvy organizations. Recruiting motivated learners, empowering your employees to move across teams, and creating opportunities for experimentation are critical elements to building next-generation software development teams.


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