A Peer-Submitted Best Practice

How to Build a Polished Development Team in a Tight Resource Environment

As demand for development staff increases, it is critical to have a well-defined process to on-board new team members. Certain practices are widely known. It helps to have a strong relationship with a recruiting firm that knows your business and your development requirements. They will help screen and identify the best candidates, saving you time. Also, an internal interview and screening process will ensure that new team members are a good “fit” with the rest of the group.

But no company has unlimited budget, and in this work environment it is equally important to understand how to make the best use of the resources you do have to grow and manage your team. Here are some of the practices we use at Synergem when we need to bring new developers into the fold.

The 80% rule

You will likely start the hiring process with specific needs in terms of experience, skillsets, salary range, etc. After some searching, you realize that the perfect candidate that meets all these criteria doesn’t exist! It’s important to control the things you can (e.g. the salary you have budgeted) but not be afraid to change your other expectations. It is totally acceptable to select a candidate that does not meet 100% of your development or experience requirements. The 80% rule in decision-making can be applied here. Go for the candidate that meets at least 80% of your needs; the remaining 20% can be covered with a training plan that will bring the candidate up to speed.

Remote work

In the past few years, companies have had to migrate from onsite to remote development. But Synergem has practiced remote development since long before the Covid pandemic. We have found that by offering work from home, the pool of candidates broadens to anywhere in the country (or even the world, for that matter). And this helps manage salary costs, since many developers are willing to accept less pay for the convenience. Not all candidates are capable of being productive while working remotely, however, and managing remote workers does require a managerial style change. Confidence in the new hire’s ability to accomplish the assigned work and/or duties is key.

The final ingredient required for this approach is to commit to the training and development of your new staff. Following through with the training program will instill confidence in your new employees and ensure that they become significant contributors to the team’s success. This is especially true with the remote work environment; continuous communication and feedback is critical to turning a new-hire into a star.

About the Author

Alain has been associated with Information Technology for over 36 years as a software developer, software development manager, communication electronic engineer, project manager and IT infrastructure manager. After a career in the Royal Canadian Air Force spanning over 26 years, he joined the private sector working in the telecom, trucking and now the emergency service industries.

He is passionate in establishing proven processes, when needed, that will enhance the capabilities of his team or his company. He joined Synergem in 2017 as their Director of Software Development.

Photo of Alain Coutu

By Alain Coutu

Director of Software Development at Synergem Technologies Inc.

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