Make your team awesome

Uplift Team Capability using Six Simple Steps

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” — Henry Ford

1. Set Goals

Skilled and capable teams get motivated by the opportunity to do cool and exciting work. If you still use KPIs and monetary incentives then you are going about it the wrong (old) way. A much better way is to use the intrinsic motivational factors. Let the team members set goals for themselves. Goals that will provide your team members with an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. Let the team members achieve their goals by giving them autonomy, mastery and purpose.

2. Use of skills matrix

Create a skills directory. List all the critical skills based on the your tech stack. I have found an online tool skill-base to be very easy to use and effective tool to create a skills directory.

Create assessment criteria as a guide for the team members for self-assessment. This will give team members the same understanding of requirements for high/medium /low (in our case black-belt/red belt/white belt) skill level for a particular skill.

example of a self-assessment criteria of API-Back-end

The team performs a self-assessment of their skills based on the assessment criteria. The team members also select the skills they are most interested in improving based on their goals. This creates a team view of the skills level and interest level.

team overview of the skills matrix

The self assessment should be repeated every 3–6 months to keep track of the progress of the team skill level.

3. Tech Talks

Set up tech talks at regular intervals for skills improvement and training. This should base on self assessment process and company’s needs.

Team members that have high rating in particular skill will lead the tech talk providing training and knowledge sharing in that skill-set. For example back end API developers can run tech talk for front end developers and vice versa. This will provide an opportunity for all team members to take part in their own improvement and improving the team as a whole.

4. R&D

Run regular R&D projects. R&D projects are great to keep up to date with latest market trends, compare technologies and get a deeper understanding of the latest technical landscape. From my experience this is by far the most effective way to excite and motivate a technical team. Developers love to do R&D.

R&D projects have an added benefit that it provides continuous improvement by maturing and growing the technology stack. It also enables us to develop more innovate solutions, more efficiently for our clients.

5. Project opportunities

Provide opportunities to team members to work on different projects. Projects that use a technology that the team members are keen to improve on. Use pair programming and code reviews. This will enable the lower skilled developers to improve at a faster pace.

Pair programming and code review also develop common understanding of the code quality.

6. Training and conferences

Use various training methods to up skill team members if required. Use online training such as egghead or instructor lead training if necessary. Opportunities to attend professional conferences can be a good way in improving team member skills levels.

What do you think? I would love your comments and feedback. If you like my article please not not forget to clap for it.