Building High-Performance IT Teams

Building High-Performance IT Teams

Teams play major roles in almost every area of IT, but it’s a challenge to build high-performance teams that can stay together and generate top-quality work

Teams are pervasive in the world of it, and they come in many different flavours. Short-lived, single-purpose teams are often assembled to get one task completed. Project-oriented teams construct multifaceted solutions addressing complex but finite problems, and product development teams tend to be diverse in composition but stable over time. Within many organizations, a great deal of energy goes into building high-output IT teams that are sustainable in the long term. To qualify as a high-performance, long-term team (HiLTT), the team must:

  • Consist of 10 to 25 IT professionals at various stages of career development.

  • Exist as a long-term (multiyear), sustainable entity.

  • Exhibit internal pride in its capabilities and accomplishments.

  • Display cohesive internal interactions.

  • Be self-managing and self-regulating.

  • Exhibit loyalty to team leaders and colleagues.

  • Produce significantly larger volumes of high-quality work than anyone might expect.
It's the last point that justifies the effort required to develop and manage a HiLTT. A well-formed and properly led HiLTT can, and will, produce amazing results. But like any complex and finely tuned entity, HiLTTs are not easily constructed and can easily degrade to ho-hum.

While not impossible, it is significantly more challenging to mould an existing team into the HiLTT model than to start from scratch. While there are many recipes to bake this particular cake, it's always important to:

  • Know your purpose.

  • Consider your environment.

  • Create a vision of what the team will look like.

  • Plan your compensation model.

  • Build a recruiting plan.

  • Select and interview candidates.

  • Integrate new hires into the team.

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