How to Build a High-Velocity Development Team the Right Way

How to Build a High-Velocity Development Team the Right Way

When we think about a good developer team, we think about hiring the most skilled and experienced individuals. But is that enough to deliver high-velocity work?

This article talks about how to build a high-velocity development team, what it means to have a good developer team, and how Environment as a Service is the perfect solution for multiple areas of your business and your team members.

How to Build a High Velocity Development Team

Adapt or perish is the motto your development team should adopt. Below are ways in which teams can adapt to their environments to build a high velocity team:  

1. Maximize the Value of Each Team Member

You cannot succeed without the help of each member of your development team. The best companies in the world understand each member’s real value, so you need to invest here, first. Identify your necessary skill-sets and hire appropriately. The main reason why most tech teams fail is because most teams don’t know how to hire or motivate developers. From our What is Development Velocity article, we know that a balanced DevOps team is the key to high velocity

Tasks vary in difficulty, and by having a balanced team with developers who can bring value to your business, you’ll keep all members engaged and offer them opportunities to grow and learn from each other. A balanced team includes junior and senior developers, mentors (software architects), designers, and product owners and managers. 

In other words, hire mentors! They will be able to coach even your most inexperienced developer to successful outcomes. Or work with a technology partner (who can also act as a mentor) to help you hire an all senior-level developer team. While the initial investment for a well-balanced team may be higher, make sure to discuss endgame goals with your development team to keep them engaged, drive better solutions, and ultimately have a better ROI. 

2. Work Smarter, not Harder

Fear of change is a real thing in the developer world. Dev teams are great at sticking to what they know and doing what they’re comfortable with, and fear can stiffen productivity and agility. Instead of losing precious time to manual quality assurance (QA), automate it. Have your team write automated tests for every bug fix and every feature. Adding a bit of extra code may take longer in the initial stages but will have astonishing results on the stability of the product and deployment later on. 

Your dev team will work on the hard, scary things frequently to automate them, to ultimately not need to do those things ever again. By eliminating the fear, your velocity will improve tenfold. Environment as a Service offers the perfect environment (get it?) for your dev teams to collaborate with engineers, designers, and product managers to simplify any complexities related to QA, and not only. EaaS can change the whole trajectory of your business by simplifying tedious and hard-to-scale tasks dev teams complete.

3. Set Doable Team Goals

EaaS is great in allowing early and frequent feedback for environments at various points of your project. You can do the same thing, but before and after each sprint with your entire team. Incrementally measuring success for each sprint keeps your project from spiraling out of control. The success criteria for your internal team and your technology partner should be different. While your internal team is responsible for the vision, direction of the application, and support with development, your technology partner is responsible for the implementation of technology, delivery, and mentoring. 

Before each sprint, set clear quality expectations of tasks and end goals, while continually monitoring throughout for improvement areas. Bug count is one example of a possible area of improvement. A high number of bugs could indicate either a team skill-set issue or an unclear explanation of the requirements from the beginning. Regardless of the issue, you can perform team quality controls every two weeks (or more often) to allow early insights into any issues. This will also keep you from having to micromanage team members. 

At the end of each sprint, the QA team should make sure the final product is meeting your initial quality expectations and ensure it’s meeting all end-user requirements. Acting quickly to resolve any issues during your process reduces costly rework and additional dev time, fundamentally increasing your velocity. EaaS makes the entire process more streamlined.     

4. Encourage Collaboration and Communication With Environment as a Service

We already touched on a couple of benefits to using EaaS, but let’s go into how it can encourage collaboration and communication. By encouraging your team members to ask questions, pair up on challenging problems, share resources, and mentor each other, you encourage transparency and facilitate interactions within the team. People are willing and able to learn from each other quickly, so a team is capable of growth and rapid progress when members are asked to collaborate with and mentor each other. 

And believe it or not, the success of a dev project depends mainly on communication. With EaaS ephemeral environments where you can test in isolation without interfering with another developer’s work or environments, developers and designers can communicate and work collaboratively to conduct tests early on to give feedback throughout the process. This leads to an overall higher velocity. 

5. Become More Agile

An agile approach focuses on interaction and collaboration between team members and customers and a set of core values that put people first. It’s a great approach because it focuses more on human interactions rather than rigid processes. An agile team unites to bring a shared vision to life in a way they know best, setting their own standards for usability, quality, and completeness. 

Agile teams have the freedom to pick the practices that make them the most effective, embracing a mindset of continuous improvement. You can experiment with different practices and have open discussions about them with your team. Decide which ones work and which ones don’t. Since every project is different, the practices should also vary as long as the right principles guide them.

What Makes a Good Developer Team?

Anthony Mixides, managing director of Bond Media believes that in order to have a good developer team you should “encourage everyone to take part in the same way. Building software on your own is extremely difficult. Recognize that you require the assistance of your teammates. Collaborative work is so much easier. This necessitates enlisting the participation of all team members in the project.” 

There isn’t a particular set of instructions to build the perfect developer team, but there are a few things probably any dev team will tell you are important. A good team has different members at various skill-set levels. Additionally, a good dev team is nothing without collaboration and proper communication. The ability to adapt to situations and problems that may arise to collaboratively and proactively come to a solution is of the utmost importance. Lastly, your team members should care deeply about the problems at hand and the project as a whole.  

Michael Frederick, CEO and CTO of Flatirons Development says “your team needs to care about the product they are building. A lack of understanding or a lack of motivation will lead to careless mistakes, buggy code, and messy user interfaces. A team that cares about the products they build is energized to build great experiences that are intuitive to users, they perform high quality assurance at numerous levels of the development process, and ultimately, they will beat out any team that doesn’t share their passion.”

It’s All about the Environments

Don’t let the fear of change bring your dev team down. High velocity can depend mostly on two things:

  1. Using Environment as a Service, and
  2. Having the right environment in your company to scale velocity.

This means that having the right company culture, the same core values, team members who can collaborate, and people who understand what needs to get done become important things to focus on. A lot of managers try to hurry production to have better velocity, at the detriment of quality. Remember that software is about helping people, and the best chance at success means letting empathy drive you

“You must respect your team and the effort that goes into creating. Developers should take regular breaks, look after their mental health, take vacations, and more. If you want a good developer team, treat them with respect and be empathetic to the effort they put into their work”, says Lindsey Allard, CEO and co-founder of Playbook UX

Bunnyshell not only understands collaboration, but gives your team full flexibility to make any future changes to your application with Environment as a Service. Your team will also have the right tools to work on different feature branches, regardless of project complexity or size. Overcome today’s growth challenges, join Bunnyshell!

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