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The secrets of building a team that can do everything

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"Happy teams are all alike; every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way." - BlochSdoyevsky
Although every great team is somewhat different, all great teams have a common trait - they are composed of different characters that complete each other. So how do you build a team which will deliver fast over time with uncompromized quality and with joy of creation?
In this talk we will disscuss the different charcters of engineers, building a diverse team and how to make them work together so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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The secrets of building a team that can do everything

  1. 1. Introducing myself kfirb@wix.com @kfirondev ● Developer (~20 years) ● Backend engineering manager @Wix ● Clean coder (wannabe) ● Enthusiastic about the long tail problem ● Just a normal result driven developer Kfir Bloch ~41, Tel-Aviv
  2. 2. 2017 110M Users With Wix you can create a stunning website.
  3. 3. You’re doing your job if you can say that Over time, your team has 3 things: Fast Delivery Pace Joy of Creation Uncompromising Quality
  4. 4. The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. “ “ Ronald Reagan
  5. 5. PersonType[T <: Strength] Executor LeaderPreacher Integrator
  6. 6. The Executor Delivery person High velocity regardless to the tools Sometimes cut the corners Sometimes does not spend enough time on design Sometimes does not share enough with people Enthusiastic by the product Loves wars and uncertainty
  7. 7. The Preacher Reads all the books in the world Can quote uncle bob in the middle of the night Enthusiastic by innovations and trends Can choose the right pattern for a problem Sometimes got the 80/20 problem, likes perfection People continuously learn from them and become better Sometimes does not listen Never satisfied from tooling/stack - in a good way
  8. 8. The Integrator Good in integrations Great personal skills Under the stretcher Never fights, doesn’t have an ego Not the strongest, but makes everyone around happy Aligned perfectly to org vibe Does not make changes, reactive They are the soul of the company & majority
  9. 9. The Leader (to be) Can grow to lead a team in the future Can handle tasks which involve more people Always listens to their colleagues Good at understanding trade-offs Demagogue Can sell ice to Canadians People feel secure when they’re around
  10. 10. Exercise: Try to call out your team members Executor LeaderPreacher Integrator
  11. 11. It’s not easy... Some developers have one strength, others have some.
  12. 12. It’s not easy... Some developers have one strength, others have some. You cannot be all of them - they collide. The Classic Clash / Opportunity: executor vs. preacher
  13. 13. People tend to value people that resemble them.
  14. 14. ...and that might lead to homogeneous teams :( People tend to value people that resemble them.
  15. 15. ● Great executor to Product team ● Great preacher to Core team
  16. 16. ...and we might end up with: Product teams that cut corners and do hacks Core teams that can’t deliver, spending time on philosophy ● Great executor to Product team ● Great preacher to Core team
  17. 17. Soooo... Your team must be DIVERSE.
  18. 18. Exercise Let’s allocate tasks Trivial 1. Prepare course for new developers 2. Manage server Townhall meeting 3. Integration project under deadline - GDPR Non trivial 1. Rebuilding next pub sub 2. Move to different stack
  19. 19. People do amazing work in their comfort zone. Letting people work on non-comfort zone might lead to... ● Demotivation ● Less prediction on estimations ● Increases the risk of delivery ● The enemy of the basic rule of “joy of creation” Let them work on other zone not in the critical path!
  20. 20. People do amazing work in their comfort zone. ● Focus on delivery of feature ● Focus on rebuilding framework ...But in reality, we need to change focus Examples ● Refactor CRUD project to CQRS ● Build framework that have plugins and then we need to use the plugins - payment
  21. 21. How to handle a mismatch of team balance Pair programming & Peer reviews Let people work sometimes in their “Learning Zone” Change team members within the organization
  22. 22. 1. It is OK to restructure your team and move people between teams to meet the vision & needs. 2. Evolving/Changing teams are relatively better Change team members within the organization
  23. 23. People with one dominating strength Might be individual contributors | We don’t need a lot of them https://freeclipartspot.com/article/top-81-unicorn-clip-art
  24. 24. People with 2-3 strengths Are very good for the team | Can cover each other
  25. 25. Takeaways ● Calculate your team strength and plan accordingly ● You might be biased about valuing people ● Mitigate character cons by allocating pairs ● There are no supermen / superwomen ● People do an awesome job in their comfort zone ● Avoid homogeneous members - make it “diverse all the way” ● Move people between teams
  26. 26. A leader is someone who brings people together. “ “ George W Bush
  27. 27. Although Wix is a glorious company, it has a problem too: production, scaling and preachers! “ “ Borat
  28. 28. Thank You + Open Discussion kfirb@wix.com @kfirondev