THE BLOG

How to Set Up and Manage Your Software Development Team

03/04/2014 10:00 am ET | Updated May 04, 2014
  • Fueled Mobile and Web Design and Development Company Based in New York and London.

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Building a software development team can be as tricky as assembling Marvel's Avengers and managing the Hulk's anger. You have to try and find balance between individuals that are both creative and logical and most of the time highly opinionated.

Find the right combination under the right management is the key to securing a successful software development team. Follow these tips to better your chances at succeeding.

The Role of the Project Leader

As the leader of the team it's of utmost importance that you are a great communicator. From the get-go you have to be clear of what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. The business plan, accounts and contracts should already be in place. Each member of the team needs to be sure of what their roles are and what is expected of them.

The project leader should also manage the team conflict in the best way possible. Make peace with the fact that arguments will take place, but give each member a chance to express their opinions and concerns and solve problems with compromise.

Keep the team motivated by limiting micro-managing, allowing them developing-freedom, giving them praise and pushing for earlier release dates.

Creative Leader -- In some development teams you might also find a creative leader, this individual is responsible for the creative design of your product and oversees all creative processes. Great design might push your product's conversions, so it's important to get the right person on board with the same aesthetic style.

Head of Product -- This employee can be seen as the connection between the creative and technical sides of the operation. Find someone with ample experience and confidence in sourcing and building the right product alongside excellent logistical skills.

Determine Your Needs

As the founder you have to determine exactly what it is that your team will need. From the amount of employees to hardware and resources needed. In order to attract individuals to join your team you will have to ensure them that you are fully equipped to make this happen.

With regard to the tools needed by software developers Sami Kaipa, COO and co-founder of SocialGlimpz, has compiled a resourceful list in "Setting Up a Development Infrastructure on a Shoestring."

As a development team it's very important to stay in the loop of what is happening with the project. The project foundation and the steps that need to take place have to be clear. Make use of a project management system, folder structures and a package manager, such as CocoaPods.

Most startups can't function without hiring a tech-pro, since the use of technology is crucial in founding a company, this individuals will help you sail smoothly.

Don't Settle for Second Best

If you are a start-up company with limited funds you might be tempted to hire a lower rate developer. This could be detrimental to your development team and the overall project. If you don't think it's such a big deal, have a look at what Jon Sonberg has to say in his article "Why Hiring B-Players Will Kill Your Start-up."

Tim Lister, principal of Atlantic Systems Guild Inc. shared some valuable advice in managing your software team in his Agile 2013 keynote:

-- Picking the right hires is not only a first step in building a software development team; it's also the most important one.

-- Don't be afraid to put the best and the brightest together in one team

Consider Out-souring Options

Apart from your in-house developers you might even consider hiring some remote help. Outsourcing some of the basics might save you a lot of time and is more cost efficient than employing another developer.

Freelancers can work on a contract basis and you won't be tied down to paying a fixed salary when the cash-flow is still low. Ideally you would have a close knit team situated in the same room or building, but this cannot be the case for all development teams.

Give the Founding Team Equity

One of the trickiest parts in obtaining the right team is convincing them that the project will indeed be successful. The biggest way to showcase this confidence and belief in the project is by offering them equity in addition to a competitive salary.

This way your developers feel that they really are working on something for themselves and not just a project implemented by some corporate giant.

Avoid the complications of managing a software development team by choosing the right members, giving access to the right tools and resource, allowing creative freedom, setting up the ideal space, allowing incentives and working on a project that everyone loves.