Thoughts on Teams

February 14th, 2010 by tomeast Leave a reply »

A few recent articles and events have culminated this last week in forcing me to consider my thoughts on teams. I remember a post from Phil Windley where he put forth his opinion of “no cold hires”. I strongly agree with the concept of avoiding hiring unknown quantities. When I was brought on to the startup where I began, it was on the recommendation of a friend of the founders. They at least had it on good word that I was reliable and  reasonably skilled. As the small company grew, we tried to limit our hiring to people we were personally acquainted with and knew would perform well. On the few occasions where we didn’t follow this pattern we had more failures than successes. But all of the hires we made who were known good people worked out great. As the company has grown and control has changed hands we have reached the point where this is no longer feasible.

Bruce Eckel, who has several great blogs on finding good programmers/employees, blogged this week about rapid hiring and firing as a way to decrease the risk from hiring outside of your network. He referenced kayak.com which supposedly hired and fired hundreds to get their core group of 30 or so. Others seem to have adopted the contractor model who are disposable by definition. I worry that by focusing on contractor workers there is a real chance of missing out on the best talent available and contracting  certainly brings little chance of loyalty.

So what’s the best way to grow a small team when the time is right? How do you create a sustainable process that fills positions with the best people possible? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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