Helen Keller once said: "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much". And we believe, she was 100% right! Just think about the Appolo 11, for example. We all know Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. But while these two men have gone down in history, they wouldn’t have made it off the ground without the support of a massive team. Over 300,000 men and women collaborated on the Apollo launch, from surveyors to engineers, to the astronauts themselves - every person that worked on the moon landing understood the goal they were working towards. So, if you’re looking to skyrocket the success of your tech startup you need a great team! That said, today we’ll have a further look into the hows and whats of building the ideal tech team.
There are a lot of different teams within a structure - human resources, marketing, customer service, finance, etc. but more often the most challenging team to build for a startup is the development/tech team. We’ll dive into the different types of tech teams first. There are three types of tech teams you can build depending on your resources and developer availability along with other minor factors.
In-house tech team
Building an in-house team mean your team members work directly for you and are fully dedicated to your projects. An in-house development team usually works in your office and might be able to collaborate better on different projects. Choosing this option has several benefits such as better control over the final product quality and greater flexibility in customizing the final software products. Having in-house development teams allows companies to build up their own expertise in-house rather than relying on outside workforce. However, in-house development can also be more costly and time-consuming and it normally requires a larger up-front investment. You should carefully weigh the costs and benefits before deciding.
Agency tech team
Outsourcing is a great way to get product development done without draining your bank account. The benefits of outsourcing software development are numerous. Let’s start off with the big one - it can save you money. Development work is expensive and an external company can reduce your costs multiple times. It will also save you time. You don’t have to worry about the project’s planning, coding, testing, and deployment phases - all of that will be handled by the agency. It can improve the quality of your software product. You will hire experts to do the work for you, meaning they’re more likely to produce high-quality code that meets your needs and expectations. However, it’s hard to manage an external team, and finding the right company as your tech partner is sometimes difficult. But with the right development partner, an agency development team model can be your best choice!
Hybrid tech team
Hybrid teams consist of a core in-house team, which gets supported by an external team when it comes to developing additional features. You can partner up with an agency to get additional expertise or to find new ways to solve a problem you want to overcome. However, if you are unsure about which one to choose and want to know more, read our detailed comparison of in-house development teams vs. outsourcing.
The right structure
Choosing what kind of experts you need to build your software product is usually defined by your financial resources as well as the level of expertise needed for each step. You want agility for your project, and that’s why a one-formula-fits-all hardly ever works for tech startups.
Front end, Back end and QA
One of the key points of any tech-focused startup is an A-team of developers, which can vary for each company. The must-have members however will be front-end and back-end developers who will work together to ensure the product is both functional and user-friendly. You might need full-stack developers to encapsulate the roles of front- and back-end and those team members are an option for a very small team with limited resources.
However, even they need support, so the final vision for needed tech team members is always decided after a careful discussion about each specific project. A QA is another crucial part of any tech team. These people usually join alongside the developers and product designers to evaluate applications, assess risks, etc. before the final software product is released.
Scrum master, Delivery manager or Product manager
Your tech team needs someone to look after them, what they’re doing and how well they’re moving with the project deadlines. This is the Scrum Master, the Delivery Manager or the Product Manager, depending on the structure of your company. They will make sure the team follows the right path, run retrospectives and procedures, remove bottlenecks and build relationships with external dependencies.
Minimalistic approach towards a tech team
The smallest tech team can start with just a product designer, a full-stack developer and a QA. After an initial assessment, roles should be split depending on the requirements of the project.
Moving towards a hybrid model
As your tech startup gets bigger and bigger your software product will evolve and you’ll have the confidence and budget to start hiring your own in-house tech team. The foundations of your business won’t rely on those first hires as much, so it won’t be so risky and you can play safe. If you need to make improvements or changes to your product, an agency tech team can work alongside your in-house team for a while, ensuring there’s a smooth transition without compromising on the quality of your software product. Your business will continue to benefit from highly-qualified senior experts until you’re in a position to complete your tech team.
Make sure to keep your team
Your permanent employees need to share your entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the mission, so choose your first hires wisely, not just the tech team - all your employees need to represent your company’s values. But it’s not only about hiring the right people, you also need to retain them. From the very first day, you need to empower your whole team through transparency, communication and autonomy to build a sense of ownership. Don’t forget whenever you hire someone, that person is also choosing you. How you build your tech team will set the standard for your start-up and shape your company’s culture.
Let’s wrap it up with a fun fact, shall we? Even geese know the importance of a great team. Every winter, flocks of geese take to the skies and work together to achieve their common goal of reaching a warmer climate. Common errors with human teams include lack of communication and allowing some members to take all the pressure while others coast through, but flocks of geese never have these problems! As they fly, they honk loudly, motivating their tired teammates, and by flying in a V-shape formation, the leaders reduce air drag for those behind them. When the lead goose is struggling, another one from the back swaps to give their companion a break. The result means that all members of the flock work and recover equally. We can all learn a lot from the animal kingdom, so take that knowledge, apply it within your new tech team and shoot for the stars!