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20 Essential Features Of A High-Performing Tech Team

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Even if a tech team comprises outstanding talent, that doesn’t mean its team members will automatically function well as a unit. While high levels of skill and industry knowledge are certainly desirable in any tech team, they alone won’t guarantee the creation of successful, impactful work that makes a significant and positive difference for the users the team serves.

A true team is more than just a collection of individuals, no matter how “brilliant” those individuals may be. Below, 20 members of Forbes Technology Council—all experienced tech team leaders—discuss essential features of a high-performing tech team and how these qualities contribute to a well-functioning, happy whole.

1. Trust

An essential feature or value for high-performing tech teams is trust. The team needs to be cohesive and able to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. When you instill trust in your team members, they can be honest, more open to providing feedback and willing to help each other out when needed. We do a monthly “Happy Time” meeting that has nothing to do with work. We have fun! – Windy NicholsonSalesforce

2. A Focus On Value Realization

High-performing tech teams focus on value realization. They are not hindered by the organizational boundaries of where they are in the reporting structure, but navigate that extra mile together to enable a company’s vision. This creates trust and a strong bond between team members that goes beyond just the joy of overcoming technology challenges as a team. – Srijani DeyDXC Technology

3. A Safe Space To Raise Concerns

An essential feature of a high-performing tech team is a safe space to raise concerns, acknowledge limitations and brainstorm ideas (no matter how “crazy” they may be). Creating a safe space requires all team members to commit to collaborating with empathy, respect and generosity of spirit. – Gerard RamosRevelry

4. High Levels Of Communication

Any effective team, regardless of focus area, needs to interact and communicate regularly. This communication can be specific to the development or project being worked on or simply to better understand how each “player” interacts under different circumstances. A key to high levels of communication is to ensure that time is not wasted on developing a new method when one already exists. – Mark HeymannMark Heymann & Associates, LLC

5. Momentum

Momentum is critical for high-performing tech teams. When a team gains momentum, it establishes a sense of rhythm and purpose, allowing members to work cohesively and efficiently. It helps them navigate hurdles and maintain focus on their objectives. It serves as a driving force that propels the team forward, even when facing adversity, ultimately leading to progress and success. – Jerich BeasonCapital One

6. A Balance Of Skills

I say this now almost every other day: You can hire a Steve Wozniak for your team, but can you ensure he will execute your vision and not his? Skills, from those that are highly subjective to those that are the most objective, are all important, but high performance comes from alignment and balance, not just conformity. High-performing teams are usually both diverse in nature and dynamically well-balanced. – Aditya

7. A Clear Vision

High-performing tech teams must have a clear vision. If the team understands their goals and why their work is essential, they are more likely to be productive and engaged. Alignment on a shared vision helps the team bond, building a strong team culture that fosters trust, respect, improved communication and collaboration. – Sarah LackeyOpen Lending

8. Personal Commitment To Each Other

Personal commitment to each team member is essential. One of our teams achieved this with a “question of the day” that led to higher engagement during standups. The cumulative effect over several months was the creation of genuine bonds, which meant that everyone saw their commitments as being to a concrete person, not to an abstract organization. Especially in a remote environment, the human connection is essential. – Luke WallaceBottle Rocket

9. Strong Leadership

Leadership is the one essential feature of a high-performing tech team. I wanted to say culture, because that’s also true, but it’s the leader who creates, leads and manages performance and culture, and there is a scarcity of outstanding leadership. Yes, leadership can be taught, but it’s not an easy skill to master. A great place to start is to find a great coach and learn servant leadership. – Corey ClothierARIBO

10. A Commitment To Collective Success

I think we can put structural and process elements in place in an organization that can provide guardrails for a team and steer them toward high performance, but for me, the No. 1 element that ensures high performance is an “aptitude” for collective success. Experienced members of the team set an example of “it’s not my success; it’s the team’s success,” with empathy, communication and support. – Tareq AyubNeoke

11. Alignment

As you grow, it’s easy for people to get siloed and misaligned with the company’s overall goals. It’s not that employees aren’t doing great work, but it can sometimes create inefficiencies in the organization. For example, if rowers are paddling with different tempos and are misaligned with one another, the boat won’t travel in a straight line, making its overall progress far slower. – Douglas EdwardsSmarty

12. A Passion For Technology

A high-performing tech team needs to be passionate about technology. Technologies change all the time, and new technologies make old products obsolete incredibly quickly. A team that isn’t passionate about tools cannot stay up to date with the waves of technological changes. A team that can’t stay up to date will be made obsolete by competitors who are in tune with the dynamics of technological evolution. – Rameez RemsudeenNuvo

13. Embracing Diversity And Inclusion

I would highlight the ability to embrace diversity and being inclusive. Tech talent is niche, and it’s hard to find the many people needed for a team in just one location. Tech team members are not only in different countries; even within a country, they might be from culturally different places. Being open about other cultures, respecting everyone’s point of view and genuinely attempting to gel well with any personality style is critical. – Deepak TiwariErnst & Young

14. Dedication To A Common Goal

Being purpose-driven is a strength that greatly contributes to a tech team’s overall success. For example, our team is fueled by the opportunity to build technology to help the clinical research industry bring new treatments to patients faster. Forming a team that is equally passionate about our common goal and creating a united mission is what has enabled us to function so well as a unit. – Raj IndupurieClinical Solutions

15. Transparency

Transparency is vital for high-performing tech teams. Digital capabilities, especially at enterprise scale, are highly interconnected, and high-performing teams meet their goals while contributing to the larger strategic vision. Leaders must set clear expectations and provide context on the bigger picture up front. This clarity ensures the team’s efforts build to larger goals and fosters accountability. – Velia CarboniVF Corporation

16. A Mediator

High-performing tech teams need at least one individual with the right combination of technical expertise and refined social skills to act as a mediator among team members. A strong mediator can extract the best thoughts from all team members and distill them into a decision that satisfies all (or at least most) members and represents a good balance of ambition and pragmatism. – Francesco IorioAugmenta

17. A ‘Higher Purpose’

Teams find motivation in a vision that goes beyond pleasing customers and shareholders. This vision is rooted in their broader impact on the community, society, country and world. This “higher purpose” aligns their efforts with the company’s mission, fostering collaboration and adaptability when facing challenges. Such teams excel both as individuals and as a united group, driving the company’s success. – Fernando GutierrezTachyus Corp.

18. A Commitment To Customer-Centric Experiences

Too many teams focus on delivering the coolest technology instead of addressing the deepest needs. Don’t aim for one-size-fits-all solutions: To maximize performance and deliver success, teams should prioritize using diverse talents to foster technology paradigms that can be tailored to individuals. Teams that design and deliver customer-centric experiences are the lynchpin of innovation. – Daryl FriedmanCEDIA

19. A Continuous Learning Mindset

Technical expertise doesn’t make a team. A continuous learning mindset, team cohesion, morale and reduced ambiguity are crucial for the success of any high-performing tech team. This ensures individuals stay curious and open-minded about embracing emerging technologies. Collaboration also enables teams to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technological innovation and execution excellence. – Thomas BenjaminNI

20. A Willingness To Fail

High-performing tech teams are willing to fail. Experimentation is critical to driving innovation, but if teams are unwilling to fail, they shy away from experiments. Leaders need to cultivate an environment where their team members can confidently experiment and take risks. – Justin BauerAmplitude

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