Whether your company is just getting started or has been in business for years, selecting and building the right team makes a significant impact on your output quality, team morale and retention. If you are looking for engineers that are skilled, experienced, and a good cultural fit to step into a new or ongoing technology project, consider hiring a consulting group.
Once you’ve determined that a consultancy group is the right solution for your business, you will need to select a company to work with. But what should you look for when hiring a consultancy group? Make sure you’re choosing the team that is perfect for your company, and how should you manage them once you’ve started working together? A selective, thorough approach to hiring and managing a team will result in exponential benefits for both your product development and overall team morale.
Hiring the Right Team
Look for a dynamic, adaptable and nimble team. While the specs for your project may focus on one aspect today, the next day you may discover the need to pivot in an entirely new direction. Engineers need to understand programming principles and paradigms before being proficient in any language, so make sure that the consultancy group you select has engineers that are skilled enough to easily switch languages and architectures, learn new languages and migrate to different environments, among other things.
Assess candidates holistically.When looking for the best-fit consultancy firm, be sure to evaluate both their technical and soft skills. Carefully assess their technical abilities and make sure that the skills and experience are there. Be sure to also evaluate their soft skills such as attitude, energy, cultural fit, personality, motivation and ethics. If you cannot meet the team you will be working with in-person, try video-conferencing to get to know them face-to-face, which can help with making sure it will be a fit. Lastly, take the time to look into the consultancy group’s track record of success and what current and past clients have said about their work.
Setting Your New Team Up for Success
Prior to beginning the engagement with the consultancy group, be sure to communicate expectations clearly and eliminate as many questions as possible to avoid mistakes and multiple iterations. It can also be very helpful to provide your consultant with a thorough “Requirements” document, wireframes and as much context as possible to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible.
Motivation is also key with any successful software development team and can make or break a project. Make sure that everyone understands and believes in your vision before embarking on a new project. For a longer-term project, consider switching team members between projects and technologies to allow them the opportunity work on something new and keep them engaged in their work.
For teams working remotely in various locations, managers should provide honest, regular and respectful communication with their remote teams to build camaraderie, trust and overall passion for the project. Get the most from your team by leveraging any differences that exist, they may turn out to be your greatest advantage in the end!
Managing your Team
As a manager, it is important to create an environment that allows your engineers to focus on what they do best: building software. Be sure to communicate frequently with the remote teams to answer any questions they may have during the project lifecycle and keep it on track. Use a cooperation platform or Project Management platform to organize and track the technical details of your project. Establish any parameters to work around early on and as your project progresses always communicate any changes in the desired outcomes.
Make sure to embrace your consultants as an extension of your team. If you don’t, there will be disconnect between the teams and the relationship will not work out. Trust is also incredibly important. Consultants are highly skilled and should be able to handle projects you give to them. Also, contrary to popular belief, all consultants aren’t “yes men” and can have great suggestions for how to streamline projects or tweak certain aspects. Keep an open mind and consider what they have to say!
The process of hiring a consulting firm may seem daunting at first, but taking the time to know what to look for will streamline the process and help you recognize what is most important when building your team. Once you select a firm, trust and open communication between your company and your new team is key. Closely integrating the two teams and fostering mutual respect between them both will help you on your way to building strong, lasting relationships and successful projects.
About the Author/Theo Nissim
Theo Nissim, CEO at Gemini Solutions, Theo is a seasoned Silicon Valley technology executive with more than 20 years of experience. He has led pre-IPO start-ups, built dozens of technical teams, developed technology strategies and driven innovative products and solutions to market. One of Theo’s many strengths and passions is managing large scale, cross-functional development efforts to high profile product releases. Theo has held executive and management positions with large public companies, Sun Microsystems and Wind River Systems, and served as the Engineering Vice President for VC funded start-ups, Digital Fountain and AdKnowledge.
Theo has a Masters Degree in Computer Engineering from the Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology in Haifa Israel. He lives in Palo Alto, California, with his wife and twin boys