Characteristics of a Great Development Team

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Each company has a specific set of values which employees should be fond of. And if all members of the development team share the same values, characteristics and conditions, you already have the main ingredients of a recipe for success. But what if you’re looking for developers in order to put together the ultimate team, or if you already manage a team and want to increase their productivity?

According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, Google analyzed over 100 teams in a 2016 study, and revealed that the two main ingredients for achieving greatness are: the team’s average level of emotional intelligence, as well as a high degree of communication between members.

Amazon, for example, has a set of 14 leadership principles that help define their company culture: thinking big, being frugal, having a bias for action and others. Let’s take a more niched approach and see what principles ‘make or break’ a great development team.

1. They seek excellence

These are the devs who are constantly looking forward to improving their skills and acquiring new ones. They spend a lot of time working and testing together, but also sharing new information as soon as any of them comes across something that’s worth the attention of the whole team.

One surefire way to encourage this behavior is to provide a place for them to share knowledge, like a Q&A platform. If you want to brush up on ways to improve the way you’re managing your agile development team, we’ve discussed this topic here.

2. They share experiences and are results-oriented

Successful development teams establish goals at the beginning of each project, and constantly communicate with members from other teams to manage dependencies at each iteration. They support each other to solve problems at a much faster pace. Which in turn, helps the system sprint in quality, measurable increments.

3. They are flexible problem solvers

Sometimes your development team will need to quickly switch contexts or even the scope of a project, then pick up from where they left off. A great team will always be able to adapt and respond to potential issues when they occur. They will anticipate the need for a spike to clarify smaller issues and avoid speculation, thus saving time and having the iteration slack absorb the cost of the experiment.

4. They criticize ideas, not people

No matter how good a team is, from time to time, they will have differences related to specific projects or even fail to implement something properly. In such situations, a team of developers which is bound for greatness will never criticize the people who came with the solution or were in charge with the implementation, but the idea itself. This is where the average level of emotional intelligence we were talking about earlier kicks in.

5. They trust each other

All great relationships are built on trust and the one between the members of a development team is no exception. When somebody comes up with a unique idea to deal with a problem, that could take the project off course, the others listen to his arguments and check if the proposed solution will bring the desired results.

6. They are accountable for their work

High performance teams support a culture of accountability. They don’t try to outdo each other, in order to promote their own careers. They understand the business value of what they’re working on and don’t appreciate individuals who put projects at risk, either due to lower ownership, wrong estimations or sparse knowledge.

Does your team of devs stick to these values? What else do you think defines a great development team? Let us know by dropping a few words with a tweet at @QuandoraQA.

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum.

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