Great People Create Great Products

Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.Vol 9, #16: Great People Create Great Products

November 29, 2012                                                                     ISSN:2164-1196

In This Issue:



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.

Teams with cultural fit can develop team norms, because they agree on what is okay to discuss. They can agree on what they want to reward. They can agree on how they treat each other. And those teams develop great products together.


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.


Hiring Geeks That Fit is Available on Leanpub

Have you checked out Hiring Geeks That Fit yet? It's chock full of stories and examples of questions. It explains how to use cultural fit so you understand how to hire technical people for your organization.

You can download a sample book on leanpub now. I'm in that last round of copyediting now. Yes, the book is almost done! I made a cartoon movie promoting the book. I'd love to know what you think of it.

If you are looking for a job, take a look at my beta book: Manage Your Job Search: Focus on Your Concrete Steps to Get Your Next Job. Looking for a job is not the mirror image of hiring, so this book is different from the hiring book. If you are looking for a job, you can help me by downloading the book and providing me feedback about what else you need. You automatically receive all the updates I make.


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.

I keep my blogs current with my writings: Managing Product Development,

Hiring Technical People, and

Create an Adaptable Life.


copyright 2012 Johanna Rothman

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