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Building high-performing software teams

Building high-performing software teams

Samuel James

July 28, 2023

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  1. I'm James ▪ 10+ years of experience writing software in

    teams. ▪ Previously Head of Engineering @TIER. ▪ Engineering Manager @Reddit. ▪ Linkedin: abiodunjames.
  2. You're building a team when you: • Bring a small

    number of people with complementary skills together. • Have them committed to common goals. • Have them hold themselves mutually accountable to these goals.
  3. Key factors that impact team performance • Teams have to

    be situated in an organizational context that is supportive of high performance. • The culture within the team has to be supportive of high performance and effectiveness. Team Organisation
  4. Clarity of purpose • Why does the team exist? •

    Why are they doing what they doing? Create team clarity
  5. Clarity of plan • How are they getting to where

    they are going? Create team clarity
  6. Clarity of responsibility What roles would individuals on the team

    play in enabling the team to get there? Create team clarity
  7. Creating team clarity is not a one-off thing Create team

    clarity ▪ Over-communicate team's purpose, plans and individual roles. ▪ Let the team's purpose inform who you hire.
  8. Maintain an optimum size • Team sizes ideally between 6

    – 9. • Create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two Pizzas – Two-pizza teams Compose a strong team
  9. Stability matters Compose a strong team Creating high performance in

    a team takes at least 4-6 months. Consider creating long-lived teams.
  10. Create synergy Coming together is a beginning, staying together is

    progress, and working together is success – Henry Ford 3
  11. Synergy is the ability of a group to outperform even

    its best individual member. Create synergy There is synergy when: 1+1+1+1 > 4
  12. Create well-defined shared goals • Connect individual's goals to team's

    goals. • Hold everyone accountable to the team's goals. Create synergy
  13. Break down communication barriers • Implement good communication practices. •

    Create an open environment where information flow effortlessly. Create synergy
  14. Facilitate trust building among members Affective trust: Emotional bound and

    interpersonal relatedness. Cognitive trust: Springs from reliability and competence Create synergy
  15. Empower The goal of all leaders should be to work

    themselves out of a job – Jocko Willinks. 4
  16. • Extrinsic motivation – Imposed by external factors like rewards,

    punishments, etc. • Intrinsic motivation – Motivation from the inside of us. The different types of motivation Empower
  17. We do our best work when we are driven by

    intrinsic motivation Empower
  18. Autonomy In control what we do and how we do

    it Components of intrinsic motivation Empower
  19. Autonomy In control what we do and how we do

    it Mastery Desire to continue to learn, improve and be better Components of intrinsic motivation Empower
  20. Autonomy In control what we do and how we do

    it Mastery Desire to continue to learn, improve and be better Purpose A NorthStar to aim for and a reason it's worth doing Components of intrinsic motivation Empower
  21. How to empower your team Empower • Foster autonomy by

    providing context. • Treat them as curious problem solvers, not mindless resources. • Coach and grow everyone to become a leader. • Make room for the team and get out of the way.
  22. Creating a culture of continuous improvement Continuous improvement • Run

    effective retrospective meetings (Project retro, quarter retro and sprint retro). • Create phycological safety. • Re-assess processes and tweak them as needed to remove unnecessary frictions.
  23. Summary • Create team clarity • Compose a strong team

    • Create synergy • Empower and get out of the way • Create a culture of continuous improvement