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I came across a good article on building technology teams at  In particular, I thought the foundational principles that the author listed were great:

Strong talent in a small team can be far more effective that average talent in a larger one.
Well directed and motivated expert teams execute effectively. They tend to need more tender loving care because they can be precious about their output, but this is a small price to pay for the results that can be delivered. You will expect to pay that expert talent more, but you can offset that by recruiting fewer people.

Try to operate like the team is a small start-up
The by-product of creating this environment is that the team feel they can operate outside of the “red tape” that besets many larger organizations and start to get creative and innovative. Typical examples are removing all the “lock downs” that most corporate organizations enforce on company provided hardware. This doesn’t mean that it’s a free-for-all – the environments should be well thought through and consistent. Also allow the team to work on a flexi-time basis.

Have a strong leadership team that is transparent
If the team know their leadership have their support and trust them then they are less likely to want to fail and will go beyond the cause to get things done and done right. A leadership team that shows they have direction and can speak to the team about it, can be open an honest about how things stand will have the respect and therefore the backing of the team – this loyalty is an extremely valuable commodity.

Cultivate the environment where everyone matters
Empowering the team and ensuring that everyone feels more than comfortable to give an opinion to anyone in the group at any level. This creates an environment where people get passionate about their work and team.

Shield the team from corporate noise
Avoid team members getting caught up in meetings etc. that take away their time from doing the work they love. This is a value add that they will respect you for.

Create effective communication strategies – canvass the team about what sort of information would be useful. Have at least one team meeting a week and consider having a “beer Friday” once a month – take the team outside of the work environment and let them talk. It’s amazing what you’ll find out!

Check out the article for more tips, including specific advice for hiring various roles.


Jason Lenny is a Lean manager and innovator with over ten years of experience managing production software development pipelines and process.