HOW ONBOARDING IS KEY IN HIGH-PERFORMING TEAMS
Jan 10th 2018
Hopefully, there comes a time in the life of your software products where you’ll need to take them to the next level. This is actually a good thing because it means your applications are gaining good traction and your business is growing.
This process isn´t always easy and it will most likely imply scaling up your product… together with your internal team and procedures. Each of this stepstones raises very own challenges, but today we will focus on successfully scaling up your development team.
Let's face it: scaling up a team is hard! It involves making adjustments and may require changes to your mindset. Up till now, your team is probably working together on a single location. To deliver a good product efficiently you may have to change this.
To assure you get the best talent throughout your growth path, your best option may be to set up a distributed team together with a nearshore partner. This option enables you to get swift access to a wider technology stack and specific skills you normally would not have in-house.
Working with distributed teams is an increasingly common practice with proven results when you need to increase your engineering capacity. Around the world companies of all sizes and industries do it all the time. Still, the idea of developing your applications with 2 or more teams separated by geography, time-zone, and sometimes culture may raise some doubts.
The foundation of successful team scale up
Growing a team is much more than adding people to it. What you really want is to deliver the best possible product in the most effective way. To do it you should rely on a committed and high-performing team, working smoothly on a daily basis. Here are some aspects you cannot overlook in order to get this:
1. Think ahead
Team collaboration is vital. Whether hiring locally or engaging with a nearshore partner, defining a set of candidate requirements is not enough. Active involvement in the selection of new team members is really important. Look at it as an investment in your product. Even if it takes more time from you, a wider involvement right from the start will make your internal crew less reactive to a nearshore team and assure everyone engages in the project in the long run, regardless of their location. The selection process should also be similar for local and nearshore teams and it is pertinent to make sure that the nearshore partner is able to embed your most relevant procedures in their own processes.
2. Don't turn your back on quality
When we talk about outsourced development, falling into the low-cost temptation is easy. It’s true that a nearshore team can give you a competitive advantage over local hiring, but this should not, in any case, result in lower quality. You are engaging skilled people to develop your product. Wherever they are based, all team members should have matching quality and skillset so that they can work together effortlessly.
3. Invest in hard and soft skills
Defining the technical profile of your team members is perhaps the easiest piece. Based on your product tech stack you define the roles you need and the seniority level you require in each role. However, soft skills are equally important when you want on-site and nearshore crews working as one high-performing team. Soft skills on your checklist should include:
- Positive attitude, creative problem solving, interest in excellence
- Single-team, collaborative approach
- Flexibility and cultural open-mindedness
- Feed-back and learning culture
- Trust in your company and product vision
- Good language (typically English) and communication skills
Why is onboarding so important?
As we have seen, assuring quality and consistency in product development requires a committed and high-performing team. Whether or not they share the same physical space, your development team needs to collaborate as a single entity driven by the excellence of your product.
After the initial process focused on getting to know new members and presenting them with your company and product vision, it’s time to actually integrate them. This is where on-boarding is crucial.
When you scale up a team locally, you’re likely to have implemented a formal induction process to ensure a smooth integration of newly hired people. We believe that the exact same thing should happen with nearshore teams.
Ideally, new nearshore team members should spend the first few weeks working on-site with all your crew. This initial face-to-face interaction offers proven benefits, making it much easier and faster to:
1. Understand your company culture and organization structure
2. Embrace your product vision and roadmap
3. Relate to your success stories
4. Induce team collaboration and assure better performance
5. Overcome eventual cultural differences
In the case of Cleverti, we advocate that face-to-face onboarding takes place on-site whenever possible, and in most cases, this is how we do it. Still, since we are based in a very cool and appealing city, it is not uncommon to have our clients flying to Lisbon to embrace this face-to-face team integration.
Either way, more than location, assuring a proper initial integration is vital to set the team on the way to successful collaboration.
Of course, you will need to keep a smooth interaction ongoing throughout the project, with regular and proper communication between the distributed teams, but this is a topic for another time!
Written by Ana Raposo | Marketing Manager at Cleverti