3 Lessons Startups Can Teach You About Building Tech Teams

Startup Tech Teams

We’re living in a time where no business can escape from the need for software in its daily activities. It doesn’t matter if you’re in retail or own a clinic, are a big enterprise or a flourishing startup – you’ll need digital tools for many of your regular tasks. 

From this need, it’s only natural that another one arises: the need for having a tech team that can help you with all your tech requirements, whatever they might be. Perhaps you require maintenance for your CRM, support for your infrastructure, or you’re thinking about developing your own custom platform for administrative duties. All of those are vital tasks for your business, so you need to build a reliable tech team to carry them out. 

Maybe you’re thinking “hey, I can just use off-the-shelf software and hire freelancers when I need them.” While that is a valid approach, using it can be pretty limiting. Having your own tech team (even a little one) can be extremely helpful in a lot of scenarios, from dealing with small technical hiccups to massive emergencies. 

In fact, most startups worry about building a solid tech team, simply because they know the value they can get out of it. And before you start arguing that having such a team in place can be costly, you should know that startups are able to pull that off without breaking the bank. How can they do that? By following these 3 essential steps you can take as lessons.

 

1. Acknowledge the Talent you Have – and the One you Don’t

Building a tech team might feel like an easy thing but that’s far from being true. There are a lot of things to consider, from technical aspects you need to cover to budget concerns. Thus, finding the right candidates implies looking up people that meet specific criteria, like having knowledge of certain tools and technologies, the right experience, and reasonable economic aspirations.

However, before diving into all that, there’s a crucial step to take first: thinking about what you already have and don’t have. It’s highly important to take stock of the talent you already have in-house. 

Maybe you have some technical expertise or some of your employees are the perfect fit to fill the tech roles you have in your business. If that happens, some internal reorganization might be all you need to have the right team. Of course, taking stock of your talent will likely reveal the expertise you don’t have and will have to look elsewhere. 

Be warned, though – the fact that you might have the talent already in your company doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use it. Perhaps you can take care of certain tech things but, by doing so, you relegate more pressing business tasks that need your attention. You have to check whether your in-house talent is better used in their current positions or if the internal reorganization is feasible. 

 

2. Focus on Your Core Digital Needs First

Given the huge amount of digital solutions available in the market, it’s easy to get lost on the way and end up using or developing platforms that you don’t truly need at the moment. For instance, you might feel like a mobile app can open a way for you to get more brand awareness. But unless your service is the mobile app, maybe you’re better off focusing on digital tools that can improve your processes and making them more efficient. 

Startups deal with that by thinking about their key IT activities and the value they can get out of them. For example, if you see that a mobile app isn’t necessary right now, then you’ll see past the mobile developers in the market and focus on other engineers. 

What’s more – understanding what are your core digital needs will help you in deciding whether is best to develop your own custom software or if an off-the-shelf alternative will do. This isn’t a minor thing. Custom software development has plenty of benefits, mainly that it’s tailored to your company’s requirements and processes. However, you have to consider if you need a completely custom application right out of the gate or if you can sail along with only a handful of custom features in a boxed solution.

By stripping your digital infrastructure strategy to its essential aspects, you’ll be able to easily identify which and how much talent you could use at a certain time. Thus, instead of hiring that mobile app developer to work on an app from scratch, you can outsource the development of some automation modules for an open-source CRM, providing you far more value. 

 

3. Find the Right Balance in your Development Collaborators

Finally, there’s the need to understand how you’ll build the team. You already know what talent you have, which one you haven’t, and what are the core solutions you’ll need for your business. Now you’ll have to find the right balance between in-house staffers and outsourced developers, experienced leaders and junior coders capable of taking care of the bulk of the job. 

As always, there are seemingly easy ways to solve this, but reality shows that the balance is delicate and harder to achieve. For instance, you might think that hiring one senior developer is enough to take care of your whole IT operation. But then, you might find that you’ll have an experienced professional doing the job a junior developer could easily pull off. On the other hand, relying your whole IT to a couple of junior engineers might end up backfiring, especially during emergencies.

Additionally, you’ll have to think if you need the tech team to be available at all times within your company or if you can work with an outsourced team that can provide on-demand solutions. Again, you might need to find the right mixture to leverage the benefits of both. 

Startups often have a couple of in-house tech staffers to take care of the key IT tasks – operations related to infrastructure, support, and maintenance. They often augment their IT teams with external teams during specific times, such as when they are building a platform or need to carry out a system migration. 

In the end, it will all come down to how much talent you have in-house, how much IT-related activities you need to relegate, and how cost-effective the combination might be. You might find that after a thorough analysis, you fare better if you outsource the whole IT team or, on the contrary, have a couple of engineers with varying seniority to take care of the whole IT spectrum.

 

The Right Team for You

As you can see, building a tech team following the startup way implies a deep understanding of who you are as a company and what your key needs are. Since startups can’t afford to spend money just because, they rely on strategic decisions that involve a mixture of in-house talent and outsourced help depending on the project at hand. 

So, following the advice outlined here, the right team for you is the one that perfectly fits your vision and needs. Since you’ll have to use digital software anyway, the final recommendation is fairly straightforward – spend some time considering these aspects before building a tech team. Doing so can lead your business to more efficient processes, increased value, and a tech-driven mentality that can take you far. 

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