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Is technical talent more important than Team Dynamic?  I don’t think so.  Read on and tell me if you agree.

The Art of the Interview

For my job, I conduct quite a few technical interviews.  Rarely will I have a week go by where I’m not digging into someone’s brain trying to find out what they know and how they think.  However, understanding their technical knowledge is only part of the challenge.  We also must understand whether or not they code quickly, and whether or not they they will be a good fit for our teams.  Technical talent is only part of the equation. 

If you’re planning on an interview with Veracity, expect us to push you a bit, just to see how you react.  If you react poorly, even though technically you’re outstanding, you probably will not get an offer to join us.

We’re that serious about team dynamics.

Nothing will kill a team faster than someone who is technically strong, but refuses to work with the rest of the team.  The risk of failure on teams with members that refuse to comply with the team culture is very high.  Ironically, often, the team members that are the hardest to work with may not be that good.  We often find that people who are very difficult to work with, even though they may be considered very good by their peers, are often hiding behind that arrogance.  On several different occasions, once their actual performance was evaluated, they were more mediocre than was expected.

How to be a Good Team Member

So how do you avoid being the team member that hides in the darkness and doesn’t want anyone to know what is really going on?  For some, this can be tough because they feel like they’re being micromanaged.  Recognizing that visibility to your team isn’t micromanagement.  Having a manager tell you exactly what to do is micromanagement.  Recognizing that you work with people, not machines is also important.  In general, being charitable with those around you is key to wanting to work with them in a team.  They’re not a distraction, they’re why you do what you do, and without them, what you do would be meaningless.

That feels ephemeral, but that’s reality.  As soon as an individual recognizes that working together is the only way to produce great products for people, their behavior changes.

Compare the development team to a relay race.  If one individual tries to run the entire race for the team, they’ll be left in the dust by teams that understand that with four people, they can be much faster, even if individually they’re slower than the single guy.

Change or be Left Behind

Finally, if your company has decided to adopt Scrum you have two choices:  You can either change, or you can be left behind, which may mean you won’t have a job in the future.  Everyone else on the team will likely see the value, and if you’re a non-contributor, even if you write really good code, they’ll likely view you as being less valuable and ask you to move on.

Change may be hard, but it beats looking for a new job, doesn’t it?


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Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011 11:52 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Technical Talent Versus Team Dynamics

# re: Technical Talent Versus Team Dynamics
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"once their actual performance was evaluated, they were more mediocre than was expected."

As claimed by who? You the interviewer or the candidate?
Left by Travis on Sep 01, 2011 1:31 PM

# re: Technical Talent Versus Team Dynamics
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I disagree.

Mainly because your question is flawed. Your argument doesn't argue the reverse: good team dynamics, poor technical skills. which is also a hopeless situation.

Employing people shouldn't be a matter of 1 quality vs another quality. But a employee has all the desirable qualities.

eg, Technical Capability *and* Social Skills *and* X, Y Z

Left by Keith Nicholas on Sep 01, 2011 6:23 PM

# re: Technical Talent Versus Team Dynamics
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Keith: You make a great point. I agree that one without the other is a hopeless situation. My intent was to deal with a situation that I commonly see: People with terrible people skills are given a pass because they're good technically. Too often people value technical skills above people skills, and as you stated, you need both.

Travis: This was based on an evaulation of their code and what they were working on after they were gone. They didn't get a chance to defend themselves, but usually, their arrogance led them to believe that they were above coding standards, good coding practices, etc.
Left by Robert May on Sep 01, 2011 8:31 PM

# re: Technical Talent Versus Team Dynamics
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Really great job man! I appreciate your effort and you must check out the Playstation 5 release date
Left by Jason Williams on Apr 18, 2017 5:09 AM

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