Every conversation we have with a client at the moment eventually turns to a similar topic: the challenge of finding and forming teams of great people. It’s harder than ever to find and hire great designers, engineers, and product people. It’s even harder to retain them and form them into effective teams that deliver value.
The UK government’s own Tech Nation report says demand for roles within digital technology has tripled over the last four years, while Hired’s ‘state of salaries’ report suggests major inflation in the cost of hiring across roles in the UK, in some cases over 20% in a year, no doubt encouraged by GAFA being on a serious hiring spree across Europe.
In this context of serious constraints, the pressure is on to make smart decisions when growing your teams, and help your existing teams perform to their potential.
As a team who have spent decades between us forming and coaching product teams to deliver for organisations big and small, we have a strong perspective on what it takes. We’ve worked with the biggest corporations including Tesco, Natwest, and Visa, and scaling digital-native business including Naked Wines, dopay and Yolt. We’ve seen the absolute best at work, and we’ve seen some other things…
Using this experience and hours of conversations with the leaders of rapidly scaling businesses we’ve captured and codified our modern teaming approach in a playbook and diagnosis tool.
Our work has shown there are eight traits of effective product teams in scaling organisations:
1. Capacity - The team has the right number of people, well balanced to avoid bottlenecks, and the ability to flexibly add capacity quickly when needed. Their progress matches or exceeds their expectations and they continually automate low-value tasks.
2. Capability - The team has all the right skills and experience to excel at the mission they’re on. They have a culture of learning new skills individually and as a team, an openness to cross-functionality and a complimentary mix of experience, mindsets and backgrounds.
3. Clarity - The team has a well-defined outcome-based view of the vision for the organisation, and understands how their mission contributes to achieving the vision. They have access to high quality data to make decisions.
4. Control - The team has the autonomy to decide what they work on, when in service of achieving their mission. They decide how to work, the tools and processes they use. They understand what decisions they are in control of, and can get timely decisions when they need others’ input.
5. Cadence - The team has a working pattern and schedule that uses time wisely, drives progress and respects how the team wants to work. They have a process that supports frequent, high-quality delivery of value to their customers.
6. Communications - The team has an environment that facilitates open communication, including open channels of contact, the tools they need to communicate effectively, and a shared view of progress. They are aligned on priorities and plans.
7. Culture - The team has a shared set of values and behaviours, a culture of feedback and continuous improvement and relationships of trust, care and mutual safety. They enjoy working together and make time for fun.
8. Connections - The team has a network of support, including support and sponsorship from stakeholders, influence over other teams and third parties. They have clear interfaces to other teams and services they use and serve and regular opportunities to share their work with the wider organisation.
We use these eight traits as part of a diagnosis tool that we apply with our clients to locate the biggest challenges and identify what is holding back progress. See below to download an easy to use tool for teams to score themselves with.
Loomery is a faster path to product progress. We deliver trusted teams, when you need them. Our community of expert makers, remote teaming approach and flexible partnership model mean we can demonstrate progress on your priorities next week, not next year.