Building great engineering teams.

We started Worklytics with one goal in mind: helping people build great engineering teams. There are few things as exhilarating as being part of one, surrounded by talented people, working together to build something awesome. But creating a great team is a notoriously difficult challenge. One for which the outcome often means the difference between success and failure for a company or product.

We started Worklytics with one goal in mind: helping people build great engineering teams.

It is a challenge that we are deeply passionate about and have ourselves wrestled with for many years. Our experience was earned first hand, having collectively managed large product and engineering organizations in successful startups. We have learned what we know through a combination trial and error and exposure to practices that have (or sometimes haven’t) worked in great tech companies.

By engineering team, we are of course not referring solely to software engineers but to the entire group of people required to take a software product from inception to market. That includes designers, product managers, quality assurance specialists, marketing, customer care and more. Great engineering teams are an ecosystem of diverse roles, working together seamlessly to achieve a common goal — shipping a product or service!

Developing a great team is an iterative process and there is (unfortunately) no magic formula to make it happen. More than anything, it requires an unending commitment to excellence. From hiring, to structure, process and performance management, every single decision needs to be made with a single end goal in mind – creating an amazing team.

From hiring, to structure, process and performance management, every single decision needs to be made with a single end goal in mind – creating an amazing team.

It means continuously experimenting with how you’re doing things and being bold enough to make hard changes when needed. Admitting to, and learning from mistakes, adapting to change and making sure there’s constant communication and feedback going in every direction.

Foundations

Laying the foundation for a great team starts with creating the right environment for one to develop. An environment where people are driven to continuously improve themselves and receive the constructive feedback and support they need to do so. This is easy to do when starting out and teams are small, so feedback can be shouted across a room, but as companies grow these organic feedback loops tend to disappear. Companies start to rely on painful biannual (or annual!) performance evaluations, that distract and demotivate busy people, and are usually a poor and delayed form of feedback.

Companies start to rely on painful biannual (or annual!) performance evaluations, that distract and demotivate busy people, and are usually a poor and delayed form of feedback.

Worklytics is designed to make it much easier to maintain this continuous flow of feedback by automating much of the hard work it requires. One of the ways in which this is done is by automatically processing work data already stored in common productivity tools, such as Github, Google Apps and Asana, to generate dynamic status reports. Status report that make it easy to get a clear picture of what people are working on and give constructive feedback on how well they are doing.

During the next few months we’ll be working on finishing the first version of our product. We plan to use this forum to update you on our progress, as well as share our experience with managing engineering teams as we go along. From ideas we have found very helpful, to problems we have yet to solve. We hope to at least to get a good discussion going and perhaps to gain new insights together. If you’re interested in more — stick around!

Photo by musicoomph.com

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