I often get this question: You have less than 15 people on your team, are you sure you have enough manpower to deliver our mobile apps at good enough quality?
The answer is that our CTO, Torin Nguyen, only hires the best engineers that we can. In software engineering, a talented or experienced developer is exponentially more productive than one who isn’t.
This concept can be hard to comprehend if one is not a developer and comes from outside the industry. But you can take Bill Gates’ words for it:
“A great lathe operator commands several times the wages of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer”Bill Gates, one of the most successful software engineer in the world.
Instead of focusing on just quickly growing our headcount whenever we face resource constraints, we invest heavily in productivity by looking at 3 core areas:
We spend time, effort and energy to look for the best talent. We do not look for the developer with the highest paper qualifications or longest experience, but programmers who shows the best talent, ability to think many steps ahead when it comes to programming, and has good discipline when it comes to planning and architecting their code.
At the same time, while most developers are only proficient in 1 or 2 programming languages, we have created a learning culture within the company where our developers constantly upgrade themselves over time.
This way, our team is highly robust and we only need a small number of developers to cover the full spectrum of work across multiple programming platforms required for each project.
This manpower capability chart sums it up best:
Selecting our next engineering hire often takes as long as 6 months to fully scout, identify and evaluate the best candidate. To this end, we have even established the Originally US Top Third Year School of Information Systems Management student at Singapore Management University for 3 years running. This helps us stay in close contact with the latest talent pool. Going for top developers and keeping our team size low also has other side advantages.
Although our team is distributed across Singapore & Vietnam, we work as if we are all physically co-located since the founding of our company. This is because we fully make use of all cutting-edge communication tools available to us that helps makes our teamwork, collaboration and processes as seamless as possible.
Having highly efficient production processes also helps us cut down on communication and collaboration overheads, which saves time, allowing our team to allocate more time on delivery.
The co-founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings has this to say:
“I’ve also found having a lean workforce has side advantages. Managing people well is hard and takes a lot of effort. Managing mediocre-performing employees is harder and more time consuming. By keeping our organization small and our teams lean, each manager has fewer people to manage and can therefore do a better job at it.”Reed Hastings, Co-Founder, Netflix
Our CTO also constantly explores and evaluate new collaboration and development tools which can further boost our productivity and help our team work better.
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