5 Key Factors to Consider Before Scaling An Engineering Team

5 Key Factors to Consider Before Scaling An Engineering Team

When growing an Engineering team, you want to hire the best talent available. But there are factors to consider before you start hiring.

Our Partner James Peters shares his top 5 considerations for CTOs or CEOs before scaling an engineering team.

Before joining Scede.io, James built key technical teams for Betfair, Microsoft and Hailo. Since becoming a Partner at Scede.io, James has helped scale various early stage startups such as StreetTeam, OpenSignal and Farmdrop.

Here are James’s key factors before scaling an Engineering team:

1. This may just define your culture

If you’re hiring from scratch (or building from a small team), remember that the next few hires will fundamentally shape your company culture.

In turn, this will partially determine future hiring decisions, company performance and ultimately the success or failure of your startup. Therefore, be sure to think about existing and future team dynamics.

2. What’s your hook?

Consider what your main ‘hook’ will be to entice people to join your Engineering team.

Is it the CTO’s killer profile? Your mission? The technology the Engineers will get to work with?

This is important because whatever you decide your hook is; this will shape the type of person who will apply for the role. (and thus the direction your startup will take).

3. A day is only made of 24 hours

Are you time rich or time poor?

If it’s the latter you need to evaluate how hiring will affect not only your workload but the quality of hires (people tend to rush decisions when short on time!).

As Gary Keller once said “You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once”.

Perhaps look at both internal and external resources to help you manage the hiring process.

4. The importance of industry experience

A common mistake when hiring for an Engineering team is getting ‘caught up’ on industry experience.

When creating your candidate profiles ask yourself if industry experience is really a necessity or is just a benefit.

From experience, we’ve found that it’s more important to have Engineers who have worked in a similar environment to yours.

For example, if you’re a high growth start up; you’ll need someone who has had exposure to the pressure and challenges associated with growing quickly.

 5. Human led process

Building on from the time factor, it’s important to set up a process that not only helps you save time but enrols candidates into the business.

A lot of start ups ‘turn Engineers off’ by not having a process in place. This can make the candidate feel that the role isn’t valued or that you don’t take hiring seriously.

Even if you have a process in place, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Many CEO’s or CTO’s fall into the code trap. Most fail by testing first (using things such as codility) and not enrolling the human side first.

Engineers respond better after speaking to the decision maker first and then given a take home challenge with no time pressure that they can fit into with their schedule.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to grow any technical team remember to consider these 5 key factors: culture, USP’s, workloads, candidate experience and process.

If you’d like a discussion about building out a first rate effective team for your business, email us here. We’ve built teams for Google, Skype, Spotify, Supercell and many early stage companies. Let’s chat!