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Developing a Team With a Purpose

Purpose - by Seth SawyersDear Reader,

Having all the developers on a team mentally engaged – having them excited to be on your team, not just excited about writing software – is important. Otherwise, what you’ve got is just a group of developers working on software. The is a huge difference between a development team, and a department of developers working on the same project; that difference is engagement.

Find your WHY

For a department of developers to make the jump to an engaged team, they have to understand – and buy into – They WHY. They have to understand and agree on why they are practicing the craft of software development. Your job as a leader is to make sure the your developers are engaged in the team, not just the process. You have to help them understand and buy into the WHY of the team. If your team’s WHY is “because their paycheck arrived” then you have a department, not a team. Lead your team in discussion to discover the team’s overriding goals. Help them understand what the team’s guiding principles. Look beyond your department, your company, and even your industry. Get everyone together and talk it out.

If all of this sounds too touchy-feely for you – afterall you just want to hire more developers – you may be in the wrong position. As a leader of a development team, it is easy to think that your job is to hand out assignments. Your job is to lead the team. You are a parent, a cheerleader, and a servant, all at the same time. All this takes time. You have to invest your time in the team, so they will invest their time in the projects. There is a payoff though, time invested in the development of your team’s culture is not simply a sunk cost. Companies that invest in their development team’s culture, rarely have need for recruiters. A culture of respect will attract top talent.

Once you have figured out why you as a team do what you do, let the rest of the world know. This alone – having a team with a purpose – will set you apart from most of the other jobs out there. Having a development team with a purpose will help you attract the talent for which you are looking.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Photo Credit: Purpose by Seth Sawyers
Used under CC License

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