Mobile app development began with the first mobile device as it required software to send and receive phone calls (Dunleavy 2010). The beginning of the new millennium saw a rapid evolution of mobile devices and applications. As both mobile phones and mobile operating systems got more advanced, customers demanded more features. Users began asking for more choices and functionality to customize their mobile devices. As the demand for mobile apps increased, the nature of building apps also changed. It became more challenging for an individual working from home to build an app without a team. Pressured with such dilemma, entrepreneurs ventured into the business of developing a team to build great apps. Such endeavor is no easy task. Making apps requires a team of developers with unique skills. Skills that is not just in app building, but also the ability for a team to come together with the goal of meeting the mission statement. This article will explore the trend of app development and how it can influence a career path towards developing apps and building a great team.
The tremendous growth of mobile app development is changing the way people communicate, socialize, and do business. Mobile apps are used in a wide variety of products from smart phones, tablets, computers to a wide array of wearables. They perform a variety of tasks – checking the email, reading books, playing games, connecting with friends, and listening to music. All of this was made possible by the development of mobile applications. Mobile Application development requires a team to work together, that understands each other’s creativity to troubleshoot, make improvements and build a world class application. Building a great team is the foundations for making a company succeed. A successful team needs to be able to work together during times of both difficulty and ease. A team is a group of highly communicative people with various diverse backgrounds who all share a clearly defined goal (Welch 2015). This article will attempt to provide the ingredients for a highly effective team in today’s global marketplace.
Synergy is an important ingredient because it makes the entire group as a single moving unit with various parts. All of the parts rely on each other to meet the end goal. To have synergy, everyone needs to commit to the overall goal. Just like a book contains many chapters, the overall book brings those chapters together to convey the overall mission. Employees are similar to a book, because a book may contain a few chapters that are more interesting than others, just like a few employees may outperform other employees; however the overall purpose of the team is lead to the final chapter; the end product; the conclusion. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. To have true synergy, everyone needs to be on the same page.
Another ingredient for a highly effective team is communication. A lot of issues arise in the workplace due to a lack of communication. It is important to effectively communicate the roles of each employee so they don’t over step their boundaries. In app development, communicating the roles within the company is important so that employees can be praised when they are doing a good job. It is never a good idea to leave an employee blind sighted who quits unexpectedly. They may quit because the management didn’t take the time to praise them when they did performed well. Silence can lead to an employee feeling unappreciated. Communication is a sign of a vibrant company that cares for their employees and understands their concerns.
In order for any team to be successful, the team needs to establish a certain level of trust. They need to be able to trust each other even if they feel the other team member is not delivering a quality product. They need to trust that each team member is performing their task to the best of their abilities. There are times when a team member may lose patience with another team member. It would be better to have a good opinion of the employee and offer additional time to finish a task rather than lose patience. By showing trust in an employee, the employee can begin to feel appreciated; and may work even harder and eventually exceeded the task. A team doesn’t show trust in each other, can face apprehension and doubt can be created amongst the different employees which can cause them to work out of desperation rather than optimism.
Accountability is one of the cornerstones of a highly effective team. Each team member needs to recognize that they are held accountable for their actions. Highly effective teams should realize that each member’s tasks and duties have an effect on the team as a whole. Making great apps or software requires that each person perform a specific task. For example, when making an app that prints coupons through the use of the printer requires the commitment of each team member to ensure they fulfill their individual responsibility.
One team member can be assigned with designing the look of the coupon; another team member can be assigned with the coding required to make the coupon print and another team member can be assigned with the responsibility of making sure the coupon works when redeemed. If a team member remains complacent and doesn’t hold themselves accountable with fulfilling their assigned task, then the rest of the team will not be able to meet overall completion of the app. In such scenarios, unproductive team members, force productive team members to fall behind which lead to the entire team falling behind (Welch 2016). Each team member needs to be accountable by completing their assigned tasks and completing it with the best of their abilities. Teams need milestones and goals. Team members need an overall purpose and goal to remind them of the long term vision. With no goals, everyone can go in different directions. In order for a team to be highly effective, they need to share a common goal. A common goal can be as simple as a company’s mission statement to something more complex as a company’s vision to purchase competing industries and run them separately. Everyone on the team must become aware of the company’s goals and be reminded on a consistent basis. When a company’s goals are clearly defined, each member of the team will monitor and identify whether the work they are performing meets the companies mission statement. One such example of a mission statement would be the following: Making the life of business owners easier, by building amazing applications”
Another ingredient of a highly effective team is commitment. Many times, teams do not commit to their stated goals. For whatever reason, they procrastinate and don’t meet the required goals. A good definition of commitment is the act of agreeing or promising to complete something in the future. This means that each team member has an obligation to meet the future commitment. When a team member becomes lax in meeting a future a commitment, the rest of the team suffers. It is important to remind each team member to fulfill their future commitments. A case scenario would be building a Loyalty Applicaiton. One team member can be committed to the task of building a database that would record the points of customers as they spent money. Another team member can be committed to designing the layout of the app and program the app to convert points towards a discount. It is important for each remember to commit to their intended task. If one fails in their commitment, the final product will not come to fruition. The importance of commitment is important so that each individual commits 100% to ensure that they will fulfill their future obligations and commitments.
Another great attribute for building a highly effective team is respect. Respect is a major key for the success of any company. Each team member needs to respect the person for who they are and what they do. When a team member fails to respect another team member this can cause friction within the company. Respect is earned by performing the assigned tasks and meeting deadlines. An employee that has been at a company for several years deserves more respect than an employee that recently started working with the company. There should be a hierarchy in place where everyone works as a team but those that have greater work experience and been longer with the company should be given more respect by the new employees. This allows for other team members to have an understanding that if they have any differences among themselves that they should resolve it by first reaching out to the project manager or those with more experience. While It is important to have a hierarchy within the company, it is also equally important that everyone is respected and works as a team.
Building a great team requires another great skill which can be called open-mindedness. Open mindedness or flexibility requires each team member to listen to others ideas and respect those opinions. They may not have to agree with each other’s opinions or ideas but it is important to listen to those ideas and treat them as equally important. This is increasingly most important in the technology sector when such ideas are rapidly changing. Removing barriers creates creativity and allows for individual talents and skills to be applied creatively (Hernbroth 2016).
Interdependence plays a great role in creating an effective team. This translate to the anatomy of the team, you sink or swim. Reminding the team that they are working as one unit; their failure and success ultimately lays in each other will help develop an atmosphere of interdependence. Too many times a team member may slack and or go in a different direction. Establishing an environment in which all team members feel as much responsibility as the management is the benefit of the work unit (Hernbroth 2016). The best employees are those that reach out to other employees that are either slacking off or falling behind and tries to provide some encouragement to help them. They help them catch up and answer their questions because ultimately their interdependence is locked into how they will perform as a team.
There are many conflicts that occur in the workplace. One of the main reasons for conflicts in the workplace is ineffective communication. Communication is important for a dynamic workforce. The team should meet on a weekly basis to discuss the mission statement and what they need to do remain loyal to that goal. A group meeting should start promptly to discourage late attendees from coming late again. This will instill in the team that the company is serious about its weekly meetings and committed to the company’s mission statement. Another cause of conflict that can arise in the workplace is the generation gap. The younger generation may not show respect to the older generation and the older generation may not show respect to the younger generation. The best way to solve this issue is to allow for both generations to work together on a project that they both show passion. It should be noted that while the older generation may feel that their experience is more valued than their younger colleagues, it is important that both views are respected.
Another type of conflict is value conflict. There are many more males in the technology field than women but this doesn’t necessarily mean that men are more superior when developing software. Some may feel that conflicts can arise when a women works in a male dominated work force, but this is not true. Women bring a different level of professionalism to the work force. They have qualities and attributes that are unique and personal which can enable their male counterparts to feed off that energy. One great quality of women is that they are good listeners. When an employee feels that his views are being heard, he or she will feel appreciated and work with even more enthusiasim. A good listener can quickly dispel conflicts and make value conflict diminish.
Growth is fundamental to success of the company. Growth provides assurance to all team members that they are part of a company that will provide for them for years to come. A highly effective team needs to assign its best team members to brainstorm ways of attaining growth. Growth involves risk and it can be tough to achieve. Growth is culmination of aligning mission values, embracing leadership that inspires both performance and innovation (Welch 2015). Growth requires taking risk and bringing fresh eyes. For a team to embrace growth they have to be willing to bring a fresh set of eyes and allow for the company to accept change. Effective strategy is not about a bunch of employees in a windowless room talking about work and what happened in the past, effective strategy is about making the future—and the markets and how it is posed to grow (Welch 2016). For a highly effective team to prosper they must be willing to work with new technology and to accept the companies decision to move to a bigger location. If a product or technology isn’t unique, a strong brand can mitigate results and prevent the company from creating a win-win situation (Welch 2016). If needed, they must be willing to make products overseas to cut overhead costs and must be willing to partner with other companies that can offer their services for a reduced cost. To manage global risk is to go overboard with compliance that you have adhered to in your own country (Welch 2016). Just because a factory overseas allows child labor or seven day a week work days does not mean that you change your standards to maximize profit. Growth can involve a lot of sacrifice but keeping the mission statement in mind will allow the company to achieve gains without risking the company to bad public relations and negative media attention. During the growth phase, a manager may have to step down in position and let another manager take charge until a better system is set in place. They must be willing to take risks and spend a lot of resources on an area of the business that will spur growth. Risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard is to risk nothing (Hernbroth 2016). This can be in hiring a new CEO or investing in machinery or software that better manages team progress. Change is crucial to a team when they are struggling to make progress.
The road to building a successful team is not just about hiring smart, bold, creative and ambitious people. It is about making them work together as one unit. By allowing for a work environment that respects the views of other employees while at the same time setting a clear mission goal can help the team remain purpose driven. Building a highly effective team is the foundation to building a great company.
Dunleavy, P. (2010, July 19). The Second Wave of Digital Era Governance. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1643850
Hernbroth, R.J. (2016) Project Management: Course Materials. Belmont: Notre Dame De Namur University Press
Welch, J. (2015) The Real -Life MBA. New York: Harper Collins
Khalid Saleh is the CEO of Zaytech. He understands that behind every great technology is a great team. He believes that having the right team and a great culture is foundational to making great products.
When he is not working, he enjoys learning, reading, and spending time with his family.