I recently wrote an article entitled What Makes a Great Web Developer. I concluded my writing by sharing, “(Web developers) are all unique, and as long as someone can do the work, then it’s just finding that web developer that is a perfect fit for a particular role, company, or team.”
In this article, I’m going to share what makes a great web development team, and why. Things we’ll go over will include the team culture, location, size, and the makeup of individual members.
Culture is not just one thing, but the collective pieces that add up to the overall working environment. Let’s go through a few:
Changing standards, roles, and assignments is something that those of us in the agency world know all too well, and it’s important that every team member realize that. If everyone can go with the flow when change comes, it makes for a more peaceful environment. On top of that, in an ideal world everyone would along and work together towards a common goal. Team members should encourage one another, coming together with their ideas that everyone can build off of.
Relationships & Enjoyment
We are around our coworkers more than our families, so having a great team dynamic where everyone gets along is crucial. I realize this isn’t always the case, but there are a lot of articles out there about how to work through those situations (I won’t be getting into that in this one). Whether everyone is amicable or not, each team member should have the opportunity for a professional working environment. If coworkers are friends on top of that, it’s a wonderful added bonus. I have friends from multiple past companies that I still talk to and see because we had so much in common or liked being around one another. Try to get to know everyone at your company at least a little bit. It may surprise you how much you like someone and how much you have in common.
Location ties into culture in a way. Here I’m referring to whether the team members work remotely or centralized. A blending of each is ideal for many people, especially with the technology we have today. Having a more flexible schedule by working remotely is an amazing gift that computers and the internet allow. This also factors into work-life balance as the needs of each employee is unique. In addition, when employees have fewer personal dilemmas on their mind, they’re able to better focus on their work.
It’s certainly nice to have more individuals with ideas from different mindsets, but sometimes when you have too many perspectives, it can become overwhelming. It’s important to balance a variety of individuals, without the project team being so large that you end up with cliques.
For web development team makeup, let’s use an example team of six. The backgrounds referred to are pulled from my previous article, What Makes a Great Web Developer. As a reminder, these backgrounds are: Coding School or Boot Camp, University, Design, Hosting, Domains, Business/Sales/Marketing, and Management.
Team Member 1: Design + Domains + Business/Sales/Marketing
This describes me. I have done design work, worked with domains, and have a marketing degree. I like my unique set of skills and, since I’m making this team, I would want to be on it.
Team Member 2: Design + Coding School or Boot Camp
This member will have been a designer in some role and then transitioned to more of a developer role by going to a coding school or boot camp. They can help others in design that may be lacking, can work easily with design counterparts, and are no slouch on the coding side either.
Team Member 3: Hosting
This member may or may not have gone to a traditional school for web development, but their strength in hosting is what is invaluable. If a company doesn’t have this type of team member on their development team, someone would have to learn the hosting side, or they would need to hire a company to manage the servers.
Team Member 4: Management
Having a senior member, or someone who can generally lead the team, is nice to have for the other team members. This manager would put together and run team meetings and the like, things that other members wouldn’t need to worry about. Their development skills may or may not be the best out of the team, but it doesn’t really matter. The other piece of what they bring is what’s important to the team.
Team Members 5 & 6: University or Coding School or Boot Camp
These team members know their stuff but don’t bring a whole lot of other intangibles to the team. They can really shine by helping the members that may not have their depth of development knowledge raise their skills.
Variety is Ultimately What Is Ideal
Ultimately, you’ll notice that what makes a great development team is variety. The six members example I describe is one of everything, and that is purposeful. Like any team in any realm, variety is ideal.
I like to see different views and backgrounds coming together to make a dynamic team that can approach problems from a variety of angles. When a team can embrace what makes each individual special, those individuals can start to utilize their unique talents to synergize and become greater than the sum of its parts.