Many businesses are making it a priority to build a dedicated software engineering team in house. They do this because there are some distinct advantages to having in-house talent work on software development. An in-house software engineering team tends to have better communication, more motivation, and the benefit of the same people working on a project continuously. And, these teams can take advantage of remote talent to create a continuous workflow on projects, with various members picking up tasks across time zones.
Building great software engineering teams takes a little time and effort, however. Hiring managers need to follow a series of steps to ensure they are investing in the right people — including identifying the team structure, writing job descriptions, launching a hiring process, and making the final offer. Here are a few tips to make it easier to build a great dedicated software engineering team at your enterprise.
Start with the software engineering team structure
Before you start hiring, determine what the team structure will be. This structure guides the positions you will need to fill, what skills you will seek to hire for, and how the team will work internally and with other departments. It also means identifying which positions are necessary on a per project basis: not all people you hire will need to become permanent members of your team.
Designing the software engineering team structure considers three things:
1. How many team members do you need?
2. What level of experience do the team members need?
3. How much will it cost to run the team (e.g., salaries, equipment, software, etc.)?
Answers to these questions are unique to each enterprise. Essentially, you want the team to be small enough to be able to work effectively and collaborate easily, but large enough to handle the workload. Consider things such as the reporting structure, the flow of information, and how work will be divided.
If you have enough workload for a few engineers, it’s useful to designate one position for the software engineering team lead. One point person should be in charge of making critical day-to-day decisions and approving work for release to other stakeholders.
Determine the skills your team needs
Put together a list of technical requirements and experience that are needed on your software engineering team. You also need to look for skills that are unique to your enterprise and work environment. For instance, if your enterprise continues to offer remote work, you may need to add communication or project management to your software engineer job description.
Don’t skip the so-called “soft skills” when creating a list of qualifications and experiences that your team will need. Organization, collaboration, and patience are all helpful skills to have as you build out your software engineering team.
[Read more: How to Become a Senior Software Engineer]
Outsource the vetting process
Engineering jobs roles take an extremely long time to fill, according to data from LinkedIn. “Engineering tops the list, as it takes an average of 49 days for candidates from submitting their job application to starting their first day on the job,” reported CNBC. Multiply that across your software engineering team, and it could take a long time to fully complete your dedicated software engineering team.
One way to lower time-to-hire is by finding a partner to do the vetting for you. Index is one partner that offers a global talent platform of vetted full-time remote engineers. Outsourcing the vetting process enables you to concentrate on interviewing candidates for full-time positions, while remote engineers or project-based roles can be filled by a trusted partner. Index, for instance, accepts fewer than 1% of its applicants to be added to its candidate roster. Hiring teams can save time and resources for high-priority open roles.
Offer job auditions
A job audition is a simulation or trial of the role for which a candidate has applied. A software engineer could complete a job audition through a coding challenge, skills test, case study, or by working in the role on a trial basis. The aim of the job audition is to replicate as closely as possible the actual role for which the candidate will be hired.
Index has a form of job auditions built into our process. Any developer hired through our database is automatically given a three-month trial period to see if they are the right fit for your enterprise (and vice versa). As your software engineering team begins to take shape, you can introduce different people into the work environment to see how they gel.
Create a strategy for working effectively
Building great software engineering teams takes tools and approaches, as well as people. Some teams use the agile methodology or lean methodology to manage projects. Others use something called the “growth flywheel.” Work with your software engineering lead to implement a philosophy that works best for your enterprise.
In addition, make sure you have the tools in place to enable the engineers to work effectively. This includes project management software, such as Atlassian, Trello, Asana, Slack, and more. If you have remote workers, you may want to include subscriptions to chat platforms like Zoom. Make sure you secure your teams’ devices with VPN tools, multifactor authentication, and password managers.
Find the best incentives
As you begin posting job descriptions and kicking off the hiring process, make sure you recruit with an eye toward the future. Engineers will always be in high demand: as a result, enterprises need a unique value proposition to encourage software engineers to stay. This can be a combination of flexible work perks, salary, and great company culture.
Most employees are motivated by salary, bonuses, and other financial incentives. But, that’s not all that matters to most people. Millennials, in particular, have proven to show interest in benefits packages that go beyond basic compensation and health insurance. Highlight growth opportunities for professional development, training, and mentorship. Show that your dedicated software engineering team is a place where someone can grow into their career and find success for years to come.
To learn more about hiring software engineers, read our blog.