How to Select Team Members that contribute to a Healthy Team Culture
“Software is eating the world,” they say and it’s certainly true. But I’d argue that teams are eating the world as well. (Maybe it’s not a coincidence that basically all modern software is created by teams.) Gone are the days when it was all about individual contribution and achievement. Nowadays, many organizations have realized that while the individual employee is important, hardly any significant contribution comes from individuals alone, but from high-performing teams. It’s the team that’s unlocking and amplifying the potential of its members to the point where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Therefore focus is shifting towards what makes a team high-performing. I’d like to offer a model that helps us think deliberately about various key aspects when forming a team as well as hiring new members to join an existing team. I propose we boil the model down to the following formula which applies to each of the members of a team:
Hard Skills + Personality Characteristics = Team Cultural Contribution
While this looks like a mathematical formula, the intent is not to plug in numbers and get actual numerical results. Instead, it’s meant as a mental model to guide the thought process.
Let’s look at the components…
This is what you would expect: A person’s hard, often technical, skills and work experience. This is what most companies tend to hire for. It’s the stuff that goes on someone’s resume.
For cross-functional teams, like Agile teams, the idea is that all skills required to achieve team goals should be represented on the team — in the right ratio. When skills are missing, we hire people with the requisite skill set to fill the gap.
In most cases, it will be beneficial to have a broad set of skills as well as experience levels on the team. An Agile team consisting of only junior developers, but no designers, testers, etc., will likely…