7. Go cross-functional
Sometimes the best way to get the most of your development team is to split them up and fold them into cross-functional teams that pool talent from various facets of the business. This is especially effective if you find projects hindered by departmental silos.
“Creating a structure of cross-functional teams can help reduce the impact of silos.” -- Nic Grange, CTO, Retriever Communications
Nic Grange, CTO of Retriever Communications, says creating groups based on results -- rather than function -- helps reduce the problems found in silos. It comes down to how your business is structured.
“Creating a structure of cross-functional teams can help reduce the impact of silos,” Grange says says. “Some information will still be siloed within the cross-functional team, but at least they have all the information they need to deliver their business outcomes.”
8. Get out of the office
What about ways to keep team members working well together? How do you keep a group feeling motivated, at ease with each other, and importantly, not burned out?
Eden Chen, CEO and founder of Fishermen Labs, says his firm gets away -- far away -- from its Los Angeles-based office each year for two weeks.
“We’re looking at Sydney, Madrid, or Budapest this year. We are able to work there and still complete projects during this two-week time period, but this is huge for team building.” -- Eden Chen, CEO and founder, Fishermen Labs
“We’re looking at Sydney, Madrid, or Budapest this year,” Chen says. “We are able to work there and still complete projects during this two-week time period, but this is huge for team building, for talking through process inefficiencies, and getting the multiple teams on the same page -- business, project management, design, and development. We also do one meetup a month where we go out and do something fun.”
9. Celebrate success
Another way to avoid burnout and increase morale is to take the time to pat yourselves on the back. Here, Artur Seidel, vice president of Elektrobit, advises celebrating successes right away.
“We always host a shipping party celebrating an important release for a customer,” Seidel says.
“We always host a shipping party celebrating an important release for a customer.” -- Artur Seidel, vice president, Elektrobit
He recalls a project with a tight deadline that led to working over the holidays.
“We finished on Dec. 29, and celebrated with a day of snowmobiling in the Canadian wilderness … and then flew home,” Seidel says. “What could have been a real drag turned into a positive memory and team bonding.”
10. Give back and bond
Let’s face it, not everyone can find passion in tackling bug reports in pursuit of business goals all the time. Some developers hope to bring their skills to bear on more pressing problems outside the workplace, if only they had the time.
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