Key ingredients for a successful team

Whether you choose to develop products in-house or with an external partner like WORTH, the success of your project largely depends on the teams involved. Forming a successful digital team is like cooking a good meal. You need fine ingredients, the best cooking materials, knowledge and experience. In the checklist below, we break down the top 10 ingredients for a successful digital development team.

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1. Purposeful

The most successful development teams are ones that have a purpose. They will have this if they know their work is meaningful and will benefit those who use it. It also helps if they understand why they are developing a specific product, which users are going to benefit from it, and what aims and business outcomes it needs to achieve.

2. User-focused

Successful teams focus on the user: whether it’s a business user or a consumer. User analysis in the discovery phase will arm them with the information they need to develop the right product for the right user. It will also tell them what the user needs, what their pain points are, and how the product or service could benefit them.

3. Cross functional

For your team to be highly functional and successful, it needs to have different disciplines and functions in it, such as product, design, engineering, test, and security. As an IT leader, it helps if you can build understanding between business and technology personnel, as it reduces transition noise, misunderstandings and errors. Having cross-functional teams also minimises loops and accelerates timeframes.

4. Unified

Great teams are unified, collaborating closely on a single problem at a time. Having a unified team reduces context-switching, in-depth handovers, and duplication of work. Techniques such as mobbing and pairing can put multiple eyes on a task in hand, utilise different skill sets, enable people to work in unison, and accelerate decisions and timelines.

5. Compatible

Good teams are also compatible, with a high level of communication, understanding, and give-and-take. It’s important for team members to gel, so they can work together efficiently and productively. This might come down to recruiting the right people. Or creating an environment where everyone is heard, valued and respected. Or even good old-fashioned team building activities.

6. Invested

The best teams for building digital products are ones that are invested in the product’s outcomes. You also know your teams are invested when they own a problem together, and feel a joint responsibility to tackle it and a satisfaction in delivering results.

7. Problem-solving

Successful teams are problem solvers that utilise their broad set of skills and perspectives to solve the challenge in front of them. They know how to harness automation, and find the right tools for the job, whether that’s open source, SaaS, off-the-shelf or code they write themselves.

8. Empowered

You want your teams to feel free to do their jobs with the skills and experience they’ve amassed, with the agency and authority to make decisions and access to the resources they need, when they need them. As an IT leader, it’s essential not to micromanage your teams and burden them with tasks, but to give them the right objectives and a high level of empowerment, and trust them to come up with the goods.

9. Experimenting

The perfect team is one that knows it can make mistakes, try different things, learn and improve. You are in a position to set the tone and culture where there are no stupid questions, failure is encouraged, and mistakes are stepping stones to success. Fear of making the wrong decision should have no place in a successful team.

10. Self-organising

Finally, a key ingredient of a successful team is one that is self-organising, deciding on its own work agenda. It doesn’t wait for tasks, instructions or assignments to be handed to them because it knows what its short-term goal is, and always has the customer’s needs in mind. Empowered and trusted, your team has the liberty to achieve their objective in whatever way it sees fit.

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