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The Dev Review

How to Build a High-Performing Dev Squad

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Are you planning a software development project? Getting your project done efficiently requires putting together the best skills in the industry. 

Depending on the complexity of your software project, you will need a software designer, architecture, developer, quality analyst, and security testing expert in your team. 

But building a high-performing dev squad that works remotely is not easy, making it necessary for you to create the right strategy. 

In this article, we will consider what a dev squad is, its characteristics and how to build a high-performing remote team of developers. 

Key Points

  • A high-performing dev team is a group of experts with the right technical skills to provide superior results when fulfilling a software development project.
  • Characteristics of an agile development team are good communication between team members, using tech tools, strong work culture, accountability and less control.
  • Deciding the structure of your dev team matters if you want to get it right. You must consider the software development project size to ensure you assemble the right skills for all the roles.
  • Assembling developers that are the right fit for the task is crucial when building a remote team. The team must be able to work with less control, know how to use communication and tech tools, and have all the necessary tech skills as per the requirements.
  • Setting clear guidelines and expectations are tips for creating a high-performing remote team. Creating a solid work culture will make team members know what is expected of them.

What Is a Dev Squad? 

A dev squad is a group of experts with the skills to develop software products that meet customers' expectations. 

The team comprises a software architect, designer and developer, UI/UX designer, quality assurance engineer, and security tester who work on a project from a remote location. 

They have the technical skills to complete all the deliverables listed in the software project requirements and to ensure that the product fulfils business requirements. 

A high-performing dev team not only collaborates but consistently provides superior results and meets goals with little supervision, and can make decisions and be accountable for their actions. 

To assemble the right team of engineers, you must carefully analyse the project requirements to determine the team size, choose the best structure that suits your project, and ensure you have all the roles covered. 

With all the essential roles covered, you should set up project management software to speed up operations and establish productive communication. 

The following heading discusses the characteristics of a dev team. e

Characteristics of a High-Performing Development Team

A good software development squad has characteristics that make it stand out. 

  • Communication: Communicating between team members is essential regardless of the job, and software development is no exception. Great dev team members have all the necessary tools to aid communication. 

  • Technical excellence. A good development squad has members with the right skills to handle any software project. The team can significantly increase productivity and solve complex problems.
  • Strong work culture. A high-performing development team has a strong work culture which means forming professional bonds, supporting each other, and being comfortable working with each other.
  • Not micromanaged. Top-down management is slowly fading because dev teams with the same goals and shared vision don't need a push. They are not micromanaged and do their job without being forced.
  • Accountability. A good dev squad has team members that give their best, solve problems mutually and make decisions to get the project done efficiently. Each team member is accountable and takes responsibility for gains or setbacks.
  • Have defined responsibility. Expectations and roles are defined from the start, and members know what to do. While the team shares a common goal, every person knows what they need to do to fulfill the project. 

Steps to Building a Remote Team

Determine the Team Structure

Having the right team structure is the first step to getting it right when building a high-performing remote team of developers. Before assembling your remote team, you must decide which structure best suits your business, organisation, and project requirements. 

How many remote developers do you want to hire, and what will be their roles? Do you want to hire software developers from a similar time zone, or will they come from around the world? 

While most organisations favour offshoring, others prefer nearshore development because it is more efficient. Nearshore development is hiring software engineers from a country in a similar time zone as yours. 

Aside from that, you can easily find software developers with a work culture similar to your organisation when you build a team of nearshore developers.  

Hire the Right Fit

While studies have confirmed a tremendous increase in the productivity of a remote team, you need to recognise that the increase is a result of hiring the right fit. 

Since the team will be working from home and you won't be present to supervise them, you need to source developers you can trust to handle tasks efficiently and within the deadline. 

You should consider not only job-specific capabilities and experience but soft skills that will positively impact the task and your organisation.  

Some skills to consider include: 

  • Decision-making capabilities. Your team members should be able to make decisions that will help complete a software development project as per the requirements. Sound decision-making is crucial since you and the team members are not working from the same location.
  • Tech skills. You need to onboard engineers with the right tech skills and experience for the job. A good dev squad should have members that know the technologies you use, which include knowledge of project management tools, software development tools and frameworks, video conferencing tools, cloud computing technologies, etc.
  • Aside from knowing how to use the right tool, you must work with developers with knowledge of software architecture, design, development, security testing, and best practices. Also, team members must know how to apply DevOps best practices to complete a software project efficiently.
  • Ability to work independently. Your team will work with little control, hence the need to set up a squad of developers that can work independently. Team members must be able to organise time and beat the deadline with little need for supervision.
  • Strong communication skills. To complete a software project, you must communicate with your team regularly and provide feedback when needed. So, you should hire devs with the right communication skills to notify you of progress or setbacks.

Set Clear Guidelines and Expectations 

Trust and accountability are essential for success when assembling a remote team of developers. You will find it hard to hold your team accountable, and they will find it hard to know specific requirements without guidelines and expectations. 

One tip for setting clear guidelines and expectations is to stress shared team culture. Since your dev squad is not a separate company, encouraging a shared culture is necessary to get everyone working in sync. 

A good onboarding process is necessary to keep your team members informed about your organisation's culture and other requirements related to what they will do. 

Work culture defines the values, purposes, behaviours, and work ethics each member must strive for. A strong work culture means each team member knows their responsibility and expectations and aligns with the organisation's vision. 

You must arrange training sessions, introductory meetings, and other work documents for new team members to ensure smooth onboarding. 

Examples of expectations you can set include: 

  • Stating whether each team member needs to sign in and out using time-keeping software.
  • Setting hours for when each member should be available for calls or work.
  • Setting goals for the team.
  • Organising a way for each squad member to report progress on a project regularly. 

Create a Regular Communication Schedule

Staying in touch with your team when you are in the same office is easy, but when you engage a nearshore team, it is quite different. It would help to establish a regular communication schedule when forming your remote team. 

You can set regular communication by:

  • Specifying clear expectations for communication.
  • Giving your team easy-to-use communication tools.
  • Maintaining a regular communication schedule.

Team members must know the tools available for communication and how to use them. Use tech tools like video conferencing to facilitate interactions between you and your team and between team members. 

Each team member might need guidance and help with various matters, set up one-to-one communication to provide this guidance. 

A communication tool like Slack can provide your team with a reliable channel for communication about specific projects. When you develop a communication channel, your squad can quickly share work-related issues and offer solutions. 

Give Your Dev Team the Right Tools

To build a high-performing remote team, you must give them the right tools to do their job. It would help if you considered using online tech tools to keep projects, individual deliverables, tasks, and timelines in one central location. 

Ensure team members have the right tech tools they need for their work. For example, a developer might need development software for a specific programming language, while a designer may need design software like Photoshop.

Cloud-based project management software help tracks each task and makes it possible for the team to collaborate and know which task is assigned to them, the deliverables, and the deadlines. 

The ideal cloud-based software you will need for your organisation depends on the project size and budget. Here are some examples of cloud-based project management tools you can use: 

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Teamwork
  • Zoho Projects
  • Basecamp
  • Microsoft Project
  • Smartsheet

Whichever software you use, you should communicate how you want your team to use it by providing them with the necessary training and access. 

Use a Transparent Feedback Mechanism 

An impartial feedback mechanism will give each team member a chance to voice their concerns and raise issues related to the project. 

If necessary, you can organise one-on-one meetings with your remote team to capture their views and concerns about the work culture. Also, you must set up appropriate metrics and a measurement system to improve your feedback mechanism. 

Encourage Innovation 

Team members must feel welcome to share their ideas and build creativity when collaborating on a project. Building a work culture that fosters creative thinking opens the door to positive changes that can directly impact your organisation. 

Set Clear and Measurable Goals

Members of your dev squad will work better when goals are clear. You can use the agile metric to estimate set goals. 

Agile metrics are standards used to measure the work progress of your team. Also called Agile KPIs, the metrics help organisations keep a realistic and data-based overview of progress to ensure higher productivity and better software quality.

The metrics can cover various aspects such as production, quality assurance and team health and can help you get realistic snapshots of the work in progress and completed task. 

Also, it can nurture self-management among team members and fosters continuous improvement, helping the team focus on work and delivering value to the end user. 

Concluding Thoughts

Building a high-performing development team is not an easy task by any means, and it takes many months and lots of resources to accomplish. Another downside is that your business will waste all that time without getting results.

Deazy can solve that problem for you by giving you access to a fully built dev squad that’s perfectly suited for completing your development project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes a Good Dev Squad?

A good dev squad is unlike the regular in-house team that works from an office. Instead, the team has the necessary technical skills and the ability to work independently with little supervision. Also, the team is not micromanaged; each member knows what to do and takes responsibility for actions.

How Do You Organise a Dev Team?

To organise a development team, you must determine the project size and ensure that you hire developers to cover all the roles. When assembling your team, you must define the roles and responsibilities and ensure each member understands the specific project requirements. 

What Are the Roles in a Typical Dev Team?

Software architect, developer, and designer are part of the roles of a typical dev team. Aside from that, a dev squad may have a UX and UI designer, QA engineer, business analyst, and project manager as part of the team. All these experts are involved in the development of the software product. 

How Large Should a Software Development Team Be?

Agile working recommends team sizes of 3 to 9 members, while some software engineering managers believe 7 is the right team size. But the actual team size depends on your project size and complexity. The tip to setting up an excellent and high-performing dev team is to ensure that all the roles are covered. 

What Are the Characteristics of a High-Performing Team?

A high-performing team pursues excellence through shared goals, openly communicates and has clear expectations of the project requirements. Also, a great team has a strong sense of accountability and, above all, has the right technical skills for the project.