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4 Secrets of Successful IT Teams

Forming a team of IT professionals is definitely a demanding task that involves a lot of well-thought decisions. No wonder why many companies nowadays more often ask for external help from a recruitment agency or a software house. 

And when the results of the project lie in the hands of a group of people, the pressure to find those who have good “chemistry” with each other is a challenge. In order for them to succeed they need to work effectively together, so what points should you pay attention to when forming or leading the IT team? 

Below we’re describing 4 tactics that will enable you to elevate the team spirit and help to reach your goals.

1. Don’t neglect your staff’s soft skills

We know that the IT industry has its own rules and they are already visible at the stage of the recruitment process, e.g. in job descriptions which include terms very often not understandable to an average person. Companies needing urgent support from IT specialists very often fall into short-term thinking and have a tendency to hire candidates by focusing on their technical knowledge. There is no debate that that is a crucial aspect, however, with having that kind of mindset it might turn out that the newly formed team consists of individuals who are not able to work with each other, because no one deeply verified their soft skills – necessary in all kind of collaborations.

Soft skills do not only relate to communication, but also to the attitude towards the performed job. A team that wants to embrace customer-first service excellence and is enthusiastic about its tasks, has a high chance of getting great results.

2. Be a leader that your team can trust

A leader plays an important role in the overall team’s performance.

But how do you measure good leadership? 

Well, you can start by implementing positive reinforcement. Positivity is the ultimate method to motivate change in the workplace and increase workflow. Offering incentives for work performance, creating a light-hearted environment, and acknowledging employees’ efforts will encourage them to work more efficiently. Be a leader that people can trust and ask for help, don’t isolate yourself from the rest of the team, but be an integral part of it.

Various workplace wellness stats indicate that employee encouragement and acknowledgment go a long way toward increasing productivity and attitude towards the employer. Companies with workplace wellness programs in place report a 66% productivity increase. Additionally, employees who participate in wellness programs are 3x more likely to recommend their company to others.

3. Encourage support

Having regular team meetings where you update each other on the progress of work is a key element in coordinating the project smoothly. But it’s also important to organize that kind of meeting where you articulate your vision and listen to the team as to how they think the vision can be best fulfilled. Let the team know how valuable they are to the organization and demonstrate that. If you are truly listening and implementing the feedback that means you’re following a good path for achieving success.

What’s also important is to create an atmosphere of help – this is the essence of teamwork. Even though everyone might have different job titles and tasks to do, it’s crucial to encourage them to exchange ideas and share knowledge. 

Maybe you have come across the term “pair programming”? This method of work consists of two programmers sharing a single workstation (one screen, keyboard and mouse among the pair). The programmer at the keyboard is usually called the “driver”, the other, also actively involved in the programming task but focusing more on overall direction is the “navigator”; it is expected that the programmers swap roles every few minutes or so. What for? Two heads are better than one. So If the driver encounters a hitch with the code, there will be two of them who’ll solve the problem. This type of support is not ideal, but can be very beneficial – a study showed that it results in 15% fewer bugs than code written by solo programmers.

According to a study published in the journal Academy of Management, when team members are motivated to help others, even at the expense of their own performance, their teams perform better, 

4. Monitor and measure performance

There’s no single magic statistic that can be tracked to provide a full and meaningful picture of staff performance. However, setting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) enables people to quantify business objectives, monitor their performance regularly, and determine what works and what needs to be improved.

How to set KPIs specifically when you outsource software development? We’re explaining that in a separate article!

While benchmarking a team against performance metrics — both quantitative and qualitative — helps to pinpoint valid gaps, it’s important to remain objective when studying the results. Don’t be fixated on jumping to conclusions about whether your team is performing or not, but view improvement as a continuous spectrum: if you take the right steps you’ll find lots of opportunities for your team to make progress.

Enjoy the success

Try to not push too much pressure on yourself when implementing the above points. Achieving success is a timely process that involves a lot of hard work, so don’t expect your team to achieve skyrocketing results overnight.

If you’re still in the process of finding skilled IT experts to join your team, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you in forming a group of your dreams😉