Building Great Web Teams

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"Building Great Web Teams" was presented by Cory Wright of Hush Labs, LLC at the 2007 BarCamp Houston. The talk covered topics such as what roles are needed on a web team, what type of character traits to look for, who not to hire, how to keep a great team, and how to handle a troublemaker.

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Building Great Web Teams

  1. Building Great Web Teams Cory Wright Hush Labs, LLC Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 1
  2. Who am I, and What Do I Know About Building Great Web Teams? Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 2
  3. Before Getting Started • Who might want to build a great web team? • This talk is about building small teams • What makes a web team? Monday, September 3, 2007 3
  4. Components of a Web Team Systems Administrator Web Network Designer Developer Administrator Database Administrator (DBA) Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 4
  5. The Six Stages of Building a Great Web Team • Deciding Important Character Traits • Determining Required Skills • Locating Candidates • Attracting Them to Your Company • Retaining Talent • Dealing with Beavis Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 5
  6. Qualities to Look For Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 6
  7. Half-life of Knowledge quot;The half-life of knowledge is the amount of time that has to elapse before half of the knowledge in a particular area is superseded or shown to be untrue.” Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 7
  8. Half-life of Knowledge • Medical Profession - 20 years • Mechanical Engineering - 7 years • Software Development - 2 - 3 years Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 8
  9. More About Inquisitive Types • Always learning, always teaching • Enjoy thinking about ways to solve problems • Find and fix problems on their own Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 9
  10. Avoid “Rock Stars” Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 10
  11. Avoid “Rock Stars” • Think they are above other teammates • Arrogant • Productivity nightmare Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 11
  12. Productivity Nightmare Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 12
  13. Avoid Wimps Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 13
  14. Avoid Wimps • We’re talking about Great Teams • No room for people who simply follow instructions • Must stand up for their ideas Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 14
  15. “Fight as if you are right, listen as if you are wrong” Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 15
  16. Understanding of Business Realities • Most companies aren’t Google • Reasons that no one has an Aeron chair • Risk of failure Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 16
  17. Teams of Friends • Great teams tend to be teams of friends • Social compatibility is important • The team should want to hang out Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 17
  18. You can’t change things about people that they don’t want to change Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 18
  19. Deciding Which Skills are Important Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 19
  20. Smart People Can Learn Anything • Technical experience is overrated • Process experience is underrated Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 20
  21. Specific Role Skills • Designers • Developers • Systems Administrators Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 21
  22. The Big Picture • How web browsers communicate with web servers • The advantages of using revision control systems • Why you should use database indexes • Basic understanding of your server operating system • Networking fundamentals, such as mail and DNS Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 22
  23. Finding Candidates • Former Coworkers • Meetups, BarCamps, Conferences, etc • College Internships • Open Source Developers • Temping Firms • Monster.com, HotJobs, Craigslist, etc Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 23
  24. Attracting Great People • Interesting work • Smart, enthusiastic team • Enjoyable office environment • Proper equipment and resources • Attractive compensation Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 24
  25. Problems with Working Remotely • Team should be in same room • Communication overhead • Remote worker doesn’t bond with team Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 25
  26. Proper Equipment and Resources • Hardware • Software • Web Development is mostly platform agnostic • Virtualization Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 26
  27. Attractive Compensation • Not simply a big salary • Ownership (stock/equity) • Flexible hours • Bragging rights • Personal growth Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 27
  28. Interviewing Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 28
  29. “I’ve Got a Deal For You!” Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 29
  30. Hiring the Right Ones • Avoid revealing status of the manager • Everything seems ok, but you aren’t sure • Contract • Personality is the top priority Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 30
  31. How Many? Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 31
  32. Ideal Team Size? • Larger teams, larger problems • Harder to reach agreement • More difficult to do things as a group Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 32
  33. Ideal Team Size 4 Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 33
  34. Ideal Team Size • Somewhere between 3-7 • Point of contact • Handles all communications for the team • Person must want to do this • Must be clear that this is not an authority role Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 34
  35. Keeping Your Team • The work must continue to be interesting • Continuing education • Show appreciation - when appropriate Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 35
  36. Motivation is Hard Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 36
  37. If It Doesn’t Work Out Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 37
  38. Parting Ways • Don’t be afraid • Waiting almost always makes things worse • Forces the issue • Worst possible outcome is to lose a great team member Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 38
  39. That’s All, Folks Cory Wright cwright@hushlabs.com Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 39
  40. Cory Wright cwright@hushlabs.com Copyright 2007 Hush Labs, LLC Monday, September 3, 2007 40

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