How to Build a Highly Capable Team of Software Developers

There are three steps to building a highly capable team of software developers:

  1. Mitigate difficult people
  2. Balance strengths and weaknesses
  3. Foster self-improvement

While there are only three steps, these steps are not simple, which is why so many companies fail to produce effective teams of software developers.

#1: Mitigate difficult people

You cannot build a team in a toxic environment. Before you can create a team of software developers, you must remove obstacles preventing team formation. I describe how to do this in great detail in my work “How to Deal with Difficult People on Software Projects.” There are 48 archetypes presented, each with the problems they cause and a managerial solution that can be applied.

#2: Balance strengths and weaknesses

The core of a software development team is the software developers. No two software developers are the same, so you must treat them as individuals. A group of individuals becomes a team when they share a joint mission and need each other to accomplish that mission. Different objectives require different balances of individual strengths and weaknesses, requiring that you know the strengths and weaknesses of your software developers.

I have made it easy to determine developer strengths and weaknesses with quiz, “Which Class Of Developer Are You?” The results of this quiz will tell a software developer to what degree they belong to each of the 12 archetypes defined in “The League of Heroic Software Developers.” Knowing the types of software developers you have makes it easy to create an optimal team for accomplishing your specific mission.

#3: Foster self-improvement

Software developers must continually improve to stay relevant in the ever-changing and highly-demanding world of software development. No company can demand or force a software developer to improve. Instead, developers must make a personal choice that it is in their best interest to become a better version of themselves. Most developers will recognize that they have room to improve, but they find it challenging to identify where they should grow and how. I have created “The Developer Tune-Up” to address this need.

After taking a 252 question assessment, developers review their scores across 14 attributes critical to being a highly capable software developer. They will then have the option to listen to 42 score-appropriate podcasts that cover 126 topics that will help them improve their score. They can then retake an assessment section, which creates a positive feedback loop of evaluation and improvement. This program is priced at $29.99 to gain full access to all 13 hours of content. Managers can purchase gift codes to distribute among their software developers, or the software developers can elect to pay for it themselves.

Ultimately, choosing to follow my advice is up to you. If what you are currently doing is giving you the results you want, there is no point in creating disruption. Let there be no doubt in your mind: my advice is highly disruptive. The net effect of taking my direction will be a different culture than what you have today:

  1. You will have mitigated toxic people who hold your organization hostage.
  2. You will have optimized team composition for achieving your desired results.
  3. Your developers will be continuously engaged in a process of self-reflection and self-improvement.

While I may not be able to offer guarantees, in all likelihood these will have a net positive effect. If you would like to get more hands-on help, you can take a look at the coaching services that I provide.