Part of what we do at TechTIQ Solutions, is build dedicated outsourced teams for our clients that work for them full time (Staff Augmentation, or building the entire team), and we shall explain the exact setup that we use to build successful and highly effective outsourced software development teams for our clients.
There are four major components of every successful software, web or mobile app development team and I will explain exactly how to strengthen each one of them, the traits to look for when hiring for those specific components and what sort of questions you could ask potential candidates.
They are namely:
- Product Manager
- Project Manager (Optional)
The product manager is arguably the most important role in the entire team as they drive the vision of the product, liaise with customers and come with the project scope that the entire team must follow to create a product that will serve the customers needs.
For a startup, the co-founder can play the role of a product manager in the early stages, guiding and communicating with both sales and marketing to come up with a clear vision of the product.
Roles of the Product Manager:
– Strategic planning of the product.
The Product Manager spends a huge part of the time in the market; finding out what problems are to be solved with the application, catching up with industry insights and determining the best go-to-market strategy of the product.
They are normally known as the CEOs of the product as they strategise and clearly communicate to the team the value that the product brings to the customer, and exactly why the team has to build it.
– Generating and turning down ideas for the product
Since the product manager is constantly catching up with the industry and listening to the customers feedback, they should always be coming up with ways to improve the product and how it can further serve customers.
They will constantly communicate with the customers and the team when each of those ideas could be implemented and which ones the team need to focus on first.
A great product manager must be able to argue with or against their team with evidence to back up their claims from the customer feedback.
Features to be implemented
Once those ideas have been generated, it is the role of the product manager to prioritise and therefore own the planning of what features have to be built first based on the strategic goals that he/she set for the product and the value that they will deliver to the customer.
Product managers will also have to clearly define the requirements of each of these features as well as draw up wireframes of what they could possibly look like and then work together with the software development team making sure they have all the information necessary to have the software built.
Planning and executing product and feature releases.
It is the role of the product manager to set and execute the products release. They therefore have to coordinate with all the other functions within the company i.e sales, pr, marketing and customer support to ensure that they come up with a great way to take the product to market and work together towards a successful launch.
He will then keep track with the engineering team to ensure that the features are developed in time.
Traits of a great product manager
Since Product Management is a multi-faceted role, there is not one degree or education certificates that can pinpoint out a great successful product manager.
But there are key traits that indicate that the person you have in front of you is a killer product manager. And they are the following:
They have the ability to solve problems
The role of product management as mentioned above requires a lot of other skill sets and with that constantly comes challenges when it comes to developing and launching a product.
Therefore your product leader has to be able to demonstrate to you ways in which they are able to quickly solve such problems or how they have done it in the past.
Strong communication and interpersonal skills
The core of the product management role is bringing different skill sets together and enabling them to work together towards a common goal.
Regardless of how much technical experience, industry expertise. Or product knowledge that a potential product manager hire could have, if they lack great communication and interpersonal skills they probably won’t be the best person for the role.
They must be customer-oriented
You should be able to find out from them experiences they’ve encountered where they had to empathise with a customer. And deliver a product/service that would meet a customers needs.
A product manager has to be unbiased and look at the product from a user standpoint and generate ideas and plans for the product that will meet the user’s goals.
They must be passionate and curious
A great product manager is one that is a firm believer in what the product is intended to do and is always curious to find out more ways in which it can further be improved.
They must have a deep thirst for knowledge and understanding since this will eventually translated into them generating even more ideas on how to improve the product.
Coupled up with a deep desire to learn more; made sure that they are always innovative and ahead of the curve.
They are masters at handling failure
Great product managers always know that a product can fail for several reasons, and it is how they learn from the failure and make changes that will ultimately determine their success in the role.
If they crumble down and hide at the first exposure to failure, then they just not fit for the level of uncertainty that the role can potentially carry.
You can ask them about their past experiences dealing with failure and how they were able to handle it or learn from it.
Sample Questions when hiring a product manager?
Describe to them your product, and ask them how they potentially improve it if they given the role?
What is your favourite product? What is one thing you could potentially change to improve it?
Tell me about your last product that was a failure? Why did it fail and what did you do about it?
What is the best way to communicate the product requirements to the engineers? How did you do it and why do you think that worked for you?
Now that you have obtained the product manager, you have at least developed the core of the team and the rest of the pieces of the puzzle are somewhat simpler to fill in.
The developers are the ones that actually write and launch the code of the application. Depending on what your particular project requires, it is typically better to hire specialised resources for that particular technology.
But recently full-stack developers (masters of all trades) are increasingly becoming common as they help the company save on costs since they don’t have to hire multiple developers. (You can contact us to hire a full-stack developer)
We also help you assess your product and let you know what sort of resources needed for the particular project.
Traits of great developers.
After you have identified that they have the technical experience in the field technology you are looking for. The following features will help you identify if they will be a “great” developer:
Great time managers
Great developers understand that their deadlines to be met and that they went above. And beyond to create code that ensure, the application finished in time.
They are therefore great at estimating how much time it could potentially take to complete a certain task. And clearly communicating that time.
Fast learners and great adaptability
Great programmers can easily adapt to new technologies on their own as well as figure out the best resources. To help them tackle challenges that they are possibly not familiar with.
They understand that they cannot have all the answers. But they will always proactively search out answers or talk to people that have the answers.
Great at working with a team.
A great developer is able to listen and contribute within a team environment. And this is one of they key factors when hiring any of the other members of the team.
If they can’t really work together as a team, then the development loses efficiency.
Sample Questions for Developers?
- What did you not like about your last work environment? did you like?
- What makes a great developer? Do you reckon you have those qualities?
- Find out what they do outside of work. What are your hobbies?
There’s always a confusion between a User interface designer, a User experience designer and a graphics designer.
If you can have all three of them, it would be beneficial. But in this case for a standard development team what we are looking for is a UI designer.
The roles of a UI designer:
- They have to communicate with the product manager who we talked about above. As well as the engineers to create stunning visuals for the product.
- They create all the visual assets from the initial concept to when the product launched.
- Create wireframes, storyboards, user flows, process flows and sitemaps to effectively communicate interaction and design ideas
Traits of a Great UI Designer:
- They must be knowledgeable of current user interface trends and what is the best to use for that particular project.
- Passionate about the product and should understand the needs of the customer in order to provide a great user interface.
Sample questions for a UI designer.
- What is your design process and could you please describe it?
- How do you prefer to work with other team members?
- What is the project that you were most proud of? Let’s have a look
After you have setup these three core elements, you are now ready to take off with your new development team.
If you would love to us to create a streamlined development team without going through the headache of hunting, hiring, training and managing, let us build for you an outsourced team that would not only cut costs, but also help you get to market faster!
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or simply give us a call.
Chris Peter Kimera is the co-founder of TechTIQ Solutions, a software development agency in London. Chris is very passionate about building highly effective outsourced product development teams that build game-changing solutions