4 Key Areas You Must Address When Scaling a Tech Team

We take a look at the key areas any team or business need to look at in order to effectively scale.

Scaling a tech team isn’t exclusively about growth. It’s about working efficiently whilst also expanding capabilities, team size, and the amount you can do as well. Have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.  

But how do you achieve this? Diving straight into hiring a lot of new people without a well-established plan can put a stop to scalability before it starts. Take the time to put together a good roadmap. Luckily, this is what we’re going to take you through!  

There are 4 key areas that you need to consider when planning to scale your tech team: The Vision, The Team, The Structure, and The Process. Let’s break down each of these elements.

The Vision.

Why Do You Want to Scale Your Team?

The question that underpins, and provides the foundation for, everything that comes after. Having clarity on why, will provide you with a clear goal that you want to achieve, thus guiding you through the scaling process.  

But how do you achieve this clear picture? Identifying the challenges is a good start, as highlighting any problems indicates that you know why you need a solution. Get a working group together of key stakeholders to help you figure these out. This will give you a more holistic and detailed view of any challenges you are facing. Keep this working group together throughout the scaling process to help figure out other areas such as the new team setup, the new structure, and how you will implement scaling processes.

The Team.

Who Will Help Scale, and Who Will You Need to Hire?

Scaling your tech team will be a continual process, but one that cannot rest on one person’s shoulders. It’s about empowering current and future team members to keep scaling effectively. This is important to think about as you form your hiring plan.  

Scaling inevitably means hiring new talent. Having a good hiring plan in place will help smooth this process. Planning ahead and being transparent about your process, both internally and to candidates as well, will be beneficial here too.  

The Structure.

How Will Your New Team Be Set Up?

This is important to know in advance, as it’ll help inform what new hires you need to bring in, as well as providing insight to the current team to know what their new roles might look like.  

You can base your desired structure on existing models, and fine tune to your specific needs. There are plenty of models out there – a quick Google search will help!  

Alongside your model, you’ll want to map out what skill sets you currently have in each team, what you need to add, and where you need to place them to scale sufficiently. And it won’t just be technical skill sets too. Product Owners, Delivery Manager and Agile Coaches will be needed to keep teams on track and working effectively as your overall team scales.  

It is also important to think about which roles might require someone with multiple skill sets. You don’t always need one person for each skill, especially if they are cross-functional.

Consider the ‘balance’ of your new team structure too. This can be broken down into three key areas:

  • Junior vs Senior

Experience levels in your team should be balanced. This gives seniors the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to junior levels, and this gives juniors the opportunity to upskill quicker and progress, reducing staff attrition.  

  • Contract vs Permanent

A blend of both as you scale will enable you to continue working on short term projects whilst buying you time to implement your hiring process and bring on permanent staff. This cycle repeats as you scale further.

  • Diversity

Creating a diverse and inclusive product development team with colleagues from all backgrounds means you can ensure that a wide range of perspectives, experiences and opinions are included in the development process. This will ultimately be reflected in the product itself, which is enriched by enabling users to use it without being subjected to the effects of unconscious bias appearing in the functionality of the product.

The Process.

What Processes Will You Bring In OR Adapt as You Scale?

Processes and best practices will need to change and be implemented as you scale in order to keep up with the new demands that scaling your team brings. Let’s look at some:

  • Code Quality – As more demands are put on your products, and more people work on them, it’s important to introduce code writing standards for your business. This keeps the code quality high, consistent, and a reference point for new starters.
  • Suitable Architecture – Plan the architecture and design of the software product you want to scale. Company goals, investment levels and product purpose will all play into this.
  • Adapt your Project Management – At least one person within a development team should possess the knowledge of where the project currently is, and where it needs to be. This person should also ensure clear communication across the whole business.
  • Improve Communication – Ensure that communication channels are suitable for in-house and remote workers, as well as expanding team numbers and sizes.
  • Automate your Processes – Automation will help reduce the workload for your team and enable them to concentrate on more important tasks. Look at automation around data testing, stress and load tests, monitoring and code checks.

Before You Scale – The Hidden 5th Element of Scaling

You should be in a good state to scale efficiently and effectively. However, there are levels you ideally want to be at before considering scaling. Wanting to scale without hitting these levels will make your reasoning for doing so less prominent, and the whole operation will be less effective.  

Ensure that your team is already:

  • Producing high-quality work. You have a solid infrastructure and code that is architected well.
  • Solving client needs. Your business outcomes are good, but there is potential to do more at this standard.
  • Existing business and team objectives and metrics are being met. If you are consistently hitting your targets, it’s time for a new challenge.

If you’d like to talk more about how to scale a tech team, you can get in contact with our La Fosse Academy team who specialise in this area.

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