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The rapid growth of eCommerce prompts organizations to create their own tech development teams. When scaling the prospect of continuing to use an outsourced team becomes less cost-effective and may cause a delay. It may become more profitable to build your own IT team for the long run.

Yet, building an effective IT unit is a huge task. There are countless stories about tech teams with a ‘no-can-do’ attitude and hostile, withdrawn employees. Some companies outsource to complete a project as it lets them meet their business goals faster, even if they have an in-house unit. It’s paradoxical and a complete reversal of the circumstances that made the enterprise invest in an in-house team in the first place.

Setting up an effective IT team is never easy, so to succeed, keep your end goal in mind and tread cautiously.

Here is a list of things you should consider when building your team:

Above all – a Common Goal and Mutual Respect

Tech staff are intelligent individuals whose skill sets and expertise often exceed the capability of other organization members. This can create a gap between tech and business personnel. Where business-oriented staff struggle to appreciate and understand the highly technical work of their colleagues.  IT teams may ‘shut-in’ as a result and consider themselves and their arcane powers above the ‘menial’ goals of business managers.

This dualism can cause a dangerous split. The tech staff no longer considers their goals consistent with the objectives of business teams, and this breeds conflict across units. The quality of the developed software may begin to suffer as well.

Every organization member should be aware that they have a common goal. If you’re creating an eCommerce system, the goal is probably profitable sales. Programmers and web masters should attend meetings with design and sales units. But above all, to have a clear understanding of why a particular solution is sought. Close collaboration does not only lead to mutual understanding, it allows team members to get truly involved and look at a problem from a different perspectives. 

It’s key to keep your IT team engaged in creating software right from the conception phase. Developers will not try to override ineffective or hard-to-implement (for them) solutions. They might come up with optimal fixes on their own—and ask the questions that need to be asked. That’s what you want. Business units often lack the technical knowledge that’s needed to assess their business decisions.

To achieve good results when collaborating with IT teams, the units involved need to respect each others work. It also requires the tech staff to be open to others.

The key to good collaboration seems to lie with the CTO. His/her role is to talk with developers, mediate between teams, arrange meetings and promote mutual understanding. If the CTO himself is a shut-in coder, with a fear of public speaking, every member of the unit will follow his lead.

Positive Environment

A positive workplace environment is vital for all positions. If it suffers, employees can become distrustful of each other and withdraw instead of collaborate. It’s easy to break positive work ambiance. For example when scapegoating or when you’re inconsistent with favoring some employees over others.

Be extra careful when using punishment tactics to address a problem. If a particular incident has not been caused by ill-will or obvious incompetence, simply have a talk with the employee. Together try to generate some ideas for improvement. This approach works much better than excessive punishing that could translate later into decreased motivation and fear of risk taking.

Software development jobs are often stressful. Errors, failures and bugs may happen, and team members are put under a lot of pressure to deal with them. A positive environment in an IT team fosters the desire to cooperate and help. Truly exceptional tech units might resemble special forcec, like the Rangers. They never leave a man behind and never retreat. Their knowledge and intellectual capital is dispersed. When the situation calls for it, even colleagues who are not part of a particular project will lend a hand and share their know. 

Responsibility

Team responsibility is directly influenced by the understanding of the project’s objectives. Dev teams aren’t always aware of the project goals. They haven’t been involved in defining and designing solutions and so won’t be as engaged in executing them.

Accountability for mistakes and performance levels is vital. Software development is, to a large extent, a process of making mistakes and fixing them. Don’t be too fast to punish for mistakes, but keep the focus on responsibility at all times.

Reward employees for good ideas. Staying overtime and fixing bugs or taking the initiative in monitoring or testing systems. The team must know what kind of behavior is endorsed.

Here is Part 2 of the article!

For any help or info about building IT teams contact us!

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