4 practices for building a high-performing software development team

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When building digital products, engineering leaders naturally want their software development team to include skilled, experienced individuals. But are skills and experience alone enough to make the difference between a good software development team and a great one?

Building a high-performing software development team is more than just bringing good developers together. We spoke to Hristo Georgiev, Head of Information Technology at Xoomworks Technology Bulgaria. He shared his view on how Xoomworks Technology creates the high-functioning development teams that form a critical part of Xoomwork's "tiger teams" for building digital products for its global clients.

Whether you're building a software development team in-house or outsourcing the function, here are his top recommendations for getting it right.

1. Hire developers with the right mindset, attitude, and communication skills

Technical skills can be taught. When it comes to software developers, it's important to hire the right personality – this includes a positive attitude and good communication skills. A developer may be the smartest person in the world, but if they are not collaborative or don't communicate well, the team won't get the most out of them. Great developers are good communicators who can clearly articulate ideas and build upon the ideas of others to come up with the best possible solution and implementation plan.

When assessing skills, you need to onboard, it's best to carefully evaluate your existing team's strengths and weaknesses first before deciding the areas that need to be filled or improved. That way, you will ensure a well-balanced team.

2. Establish a culture of collaboration

Whether it's an in-house software development team, or an outsourced function, collaboration both within the team and cross-functionally is crucial.

To be effective, software developers need to understand the full context of who they are solving a problem for, and why it is important. Without that context, they won't be able to come up with the best possible solution and way forward.

Everyone within the software development team – generalists or specialists – should feel empowered and be encouraged to contribute and suggest ideas and strategies to make the team more productive. Only then will the products they are working on be the best they can possibly be.

3. Encourage transparency and trust

A great software development team should not be defined by how they respond when everything is running smoothly; rather it's how they come together and react when things go wrong.

It is rare for a project to run entirely smoothly without any bumps in the road. So, when issues and bugs are identified, developers need to be transparent about them. When a problem arises, it should be all hands to the pump to find a solution that overcomes the hurdles, achieving the best possible outcome as quickly as possible.

Hiding information or trying to apportion blame can only result in delaying a project. Software developers need to be able to acknowledge if there is a problem and come together as a team for an open discussion about how best to fix it quickly and effectively.

4. Take time for reflection

When building high-performing software development teams, it is important to take the time to reflect and celebrate accomplishments together, as well as time to identify areas for improvement.

Taking a step back to reflect leaves room to iterate on the team's abilities to improve processes and deliver great software. A great software development team will naturally want to aim high and promote a culture of continuous improvement. They will continually challenge themselves, reflect and learn from their mistakes.

Coming up with the right solution and implementation plan needs to be a collaborative approach, based on trust and accountability with a no-blame culture.   Xoomworks OneTeam Approach™ does just that. And by focusing on clarity and transparency, Xoomworks teams can deliver faster, bring solutions to market quicker and creating more business value.

Scaling up software developed is often a key challenge for Product leaders. The Xoomworks approach removes the uncertainty, risk, and guesswork, allowing clients to expand their operations with confidence.

To learn more about the Xoomworks approach and how we build digital products that people love to use, get in touch.

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