What does the ideal web team look like?
There’s a good thread on Quora on the subject. One of the catchier responses was “Hacker, Hustler, Designer”:
The designer is customer facing and solving the customer problems, the hacker is hacking, and the hustler is in search of the business model.
Our approach is similar. Our clients play the role of “hustler”, initiating the project after developing customers.
On the thoughtbot side, most of our project teams consist of 2 developers and 1 designer. One of the three team members acts as lead. An advisor assists the team for a few hours a week.
The lead is responsible for the direction and organization of the project. They are either a designer or developer.
The buck stops here. The success or failure of the project ultimately rests on the lead’s shoulders. It’s up to them to make the hard decisions, to delegate to others when they don’t have the time or skill to accomplish a task, and to keep team morale up.
The designer is responsible for designing a total customer experience. They think through all the interaction points between customers and the product. They attempt to evoke emotions in users of the product and then monitor whether their attempts hit the mark.
Assisting users to experience an emotion and understand content is a manipulation of the user’s behavior. So, the designer keeps in mind the values the product is projecting.
They also implement. They write and maintain HTML and CSS code.
The developers make it work. They write the code that makes the app “smart.” They aim to make the product error-free. They monitor performance because speed is a feature of every application.
They keep it running. They make architectural decisions and interact with modern-day hosting companies like Heroku or Blue Box Group, whose employees double as your outsourced operations team.
The advisor is an impartial counselor. They facilitate weekly retrospectives and counsel both the thoughtbot team and the client.
The advisor also helps the rest of the team see how they look from an outside perspective. They express enthusiasm when the team is in a groove and serious guidance when things get off track.
The advisor is usually Chad, Matt, or Dan.
While each person plays a role, a team needs to be a team.
Everyone takes initiative every day: for delivering high quality work, for staying true to the vision for the product, for communicating their schedule and intentions, and for being consistent.
Nothing builds trust like doing what you said you would.