Great People Create Great Products
Have you ever been on a project team with great people? I’m not talking about super-smart people, although they might have been some of those great people. I mean a project team where the team meshed. Where the team jelled, where the team knew how to work together.
Now, I bet that team didn’t magically jell on day one. But I bet that team had a lot in common from day one. That’s called cultural fit. That team didn’t need to be homogeneous. The best project teams often have people with tons of diversity: background, personality, and approaches. But they have cultural fit in common.
How do you find these mystical team members? Well, it does take work. But not as much as you might think.
You have to decide on the qualities, preferences, and non-technical skills that a person needs for your team. That’s part of a job analysis. (See the template.) When you look for qualities, you don’t ask candidates about their strengths or weaknesses; you don’t have time for that in an interview.
Instead, you would ask questions such as, “Tell me about a time in your most recent project where you encountered a situation when: the tests failed or the design didn’t scale or the project was going to be late, or whatever situation is important to you. What happened?”
Now, here comes the really important part. You, as the interviewer have to wait for the candidate to think about the answer. You don’t prompt the candidate. That would be leading the candidate. You wait for the candidate to tell you about what the candidate did.
When you ask questions this way, you have the opportunity to have a conversation and hear about how a person worked on a team. You get to hear about this person’s qualities: is this person a driver towards completion? How about preferences: Does this person prefer interim milestones? What about non-technical skills: Does this person facilitate the work of others?
Different people fill different roles on teams. That is what is so wonderful about working with other humans. If you get enough diversity on a team, you get a great product development team. Sure, you need enough technical skill, but once you have that, it’s the qualities, preferences, and non-technical skills that make all the difference between a team that can barely function and a team that thrives.
Remember, great people working together create great products. If you are looking for people for your team, whether you are hiring from within or looking from outside, you owe it to yourself to look at Hiring Geeks That Fit and learn how to analyze a job and how to ask great questions.
See Where Johanna is Speaking
My updated speaking calendar is posted. Watch for announcements of webinars about Hiring Geeks That Fit here and there.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues here.