4 Essential Foundations Before Scaling Your Startup Software Development Team


Expanding too fast often turns out badly for startup businesses. Thus, 70% of startups fail due to attempts to grow the business without the proper foundation and strong processes in place. If you are currently planning to outsource your software development team, first check out these four cornerstone aspects. Below is a breakdown of how one can avoid this mistake.

1. Establish and Appoint a Powerful Core Team

The core team is one of the important components of the successful running of any new venture startup. Indeed, even the simplest of scaling efforts and initiatives are doomed when there isn’t a stable, carry-through, and aligned core team to drive the process. A weak core team creates erosion of the organisation’s goals, incompatible objectives, and improper coordination and supervision. These issues appear as project delays, deterioration of product quality, and high turnover rates among employees. A lack of commitment from a specific team, for example, might mean the future technologies that are expected to transform the organisation are not going to be developed.
A weak core team has very dangerous implications for your business. Business initiatives may stall or fail flat out due to a lack of clarity between team members as well as the absence of goals. This may result in lost business opportunities and disappointed customer expectations and perceptions of the enterprise. This can be costly, both in terms of time and money because turnover is not only time-consuming and expensive to manage, but it also means losing skilled workers. Finally, it is important to note that engaging a weak core team will slow down growth and hinder innovation, leaving your startup company exposed to competition.

How to establish a core team

  • Hiring for Cultural Fit: Apart from ensuring that they possess the necessary skills in their line of work, make sure that they have the right attitude towards work in your company. To learn behavioural aspects of the candidate and how compatible they will be in your company conduct behavioural interviews and cultural fit assessments.
  • Skill Diversity: Build your own team with a range of specialities. This involves engaging front-end and back-end developers, data scientists, DevOps software developers, and UX/UI designers in all-angle development.
  • Mentorship Programs: Promote team participation that has the older software development training and encourage the new employees of the team. This assists in passing knowledge from one person to another as well as attaining personal and professional skills.
  • Regular Team Building Activities: Organise constant group interventions in order to enhance the cohesiveness of a team and increase cooperation. These may include hackathons, code retreats, and fun related events.

2. Scalable Infrastructure

Ensuring that the hardware, software, and cloud services you plan to integrate into your business and use at large can handle the increased volume is vital before growing your team. Lacking the infrastructure that would support it, your system might not be able to work efficiently when the traffic increases, thereby experiencing some performance hitches, downtimes and in the process make users’ experience gruelling. The lack of necessary infrastructure poses a challenge for development processes since developers are hampered in their process of functioning and the projects they undertake. For example, reliance on old-age machines or an organisation’s local servers has drawbacks such as longer processing time and few opportunities to expand capacity.

Lack of infrastructure is one major reason that could really slow down your business. Inefficiency and time loss may cause customer discontent, which results in the loss of potential profits. Long development cycles pose the risk of late new feature releases, and competitors will use the time to advance more than you. Besides, it hampers the efficient delivery of services as weak infrastructure demands more resources to maintain and solve some problems. Finally, there is a failure to scale, meaning that your business may fail to expand and accommodate the needs of a growing market.

How to set up scalable infrastructure

  • Cloud Services: Use AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure for large computing power or scalable computing power. Such platforms allow you to choose the scale according to your needs for growing your business.
  • Microservices Architecture: Use the microservices approach to separate services and scale each microservice as per the requirement. Leverage containerisation technology such as Docker and orchestration technology like Kubernetes.
  • Load Balancing and Auto-scaling: Use load balancer and auto-scaling group to configure traffic distribution and resource allocation without the need for constant intervention. Techniques such as Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) and Kubernetes Horizontal Pod Autoscaler are, therefore, very efficient.
  • CI/CD Pipelines: Implement CI/CD pipelines to integrate test automation and build/deploy automation solutions. To ensure fast and efficient code release use tools such as Jenkins, GitLab CI, CircleCI and others.

3. Agile Processes

Flexible approaches to work processes must be put in place to help the team to deliver on its goals and respond to changes effectively. Often, due to a lack of agile processes, teams end up slowed by the procedures, lengthy decision-making processes, and frustrations. This can result in late delivery, accumulated technical debt, and inability to meet emerging market needs. Non-agile processes are characterised by lengthy planning cycles, excessive documentation, and slow feedback loops, and these are some of the negative impacts that affect productivity and innovation.

The lack of agile processes is a significant problem that may hinder business innovation and strategic adaptation to new changes. Delays in decision-making and bureaucratic issues mean that decisions are not made in time, and the organisation becomes less competitive. Technical debt increases and more development work becomes more complex and expensive. Moreover, poor flexibility causes a loss of morale because developers will be constantly hampered by bureaucracy and unable to work on projects independently. It can result in increased turnover rates and challenges in recruitment and retention of the best employees.

How to set up an Agile process

  • Scrum Framework: Scrum is used to deal with complex projects using iterative and incremental steps with the help of sprints. There are products like Jira or Trello that must be used for planning, sprinting, and tracking.
  • Kanban System: Kanban should be used in the continuous delivery and improvement of processes through visualisation of work, constraining the amount of work in progress (WIP), and focusing work on the Kanban system. Some of the tools that can be helpful in that case are Kanbanise or LeanKit.
  • Regular Stand-ups and Retrospectives: We suggest having a stand-up meeting every morning to check on the team’s progress and discuss any issues that may arise. Sprint retrospective meetings should be held in order to discuss what was beneficial and what was problematic.
  • Agile Training and Certification: Ensure that your training and certification offerings are flexible to the demands of your team members. They can pursue CSM or PSM certification to improve their knowledge and application of agile practices.

4. Metrics and Analytics

Applying standards for evaluating team performance is important when it is necessary to come to a decision and enhance the effectiveness of the team. The problem is when there are no metrics and analytics; it is difficult to define where the bottlenecks exist, how the progress is going, and whether some alterations affect it. This tends to lead to unproductive processes, emerging problems, and no one to blame for them. They include inadequate visibility on code quality, the pace of development, and user interaction with the application, all of which may affect decision-making.

The absence of a metric and analytics, in general, results in ineffective organisational functioning and missed business opportunities. If there are no quantitative findings, it is challenging to manage and improve efficiency and effectiveness within a process and recognise where investments are to be made. This can lead to inefficiency, expenses, and undesirable organisational growth. Secondly, without proper measurement, there are tendencies for the team’s members to underperform or even demotivate, and, thus, their performance has to be managed. In the end, the absence of data can contribute to the loss of potential for a startup’s development.

What Metrics to Analyse

  • Performance Metrics: Pace code churning, lead time, cycle time, and deployment frequency, as well as monitoring their trends. Some of the tools like GitPrime or Pluralsight Flow can reveal very much necessary information about your development processes.
  • Error Tracking and Monitoring: Implement tools such as sentry, new relic or Datadog for detecting, analysing and solving each error in real-time.
  • User Analytics: Integrate measurement tools, such as Google Analytics or Mixpanel, to monitor user activity, usage of different features, and engagement. It can be valuable to decision-making processes related to products and their development.
  • Feedback Loops: Ensure there is feedback from the users and stakeholders through; code reviews, testing and feedback sessions, and general meetings. That way you are able to use the feedback given to improve the processes and the product.

Why Scaling Software Development Team Prematurely Can Be Disastrous

Scaling your startup software development team without these foundations can lead to numerous challenges:

  • Technical Debt: Without a strong core team and agile processes, you may accumulate technical debt, making it harder to scale effectively.
  • Operational Inefficiencies: Lack of scalable infrastructure can result in operational bottlenecks, reducing the efficiency and productivity of your team.
  • Reduced Agility: Without agile processes, your team may struggle to adapt to changing requirements, leading to missed opportunities and slower time-to-market.
  • Poor Decision-Making: Without metrics and analytics, you lack the data-driven insights needed to make informed decisions, leading to suboptimal outcomes.

Fundamental Aspects You Need to Have in Place Before You Start to Scale

Hiring more software developers for your startup is a big step that should not be taken without proper preparation and models in place. To do it, focus on the following areas: construction of a powerful core team, development of infrastructure that can be easily scaled and adapted, formation of an effective work process as fast as possible, and metrics and analytics usage. As a firm that focuses on assisting startups at Ateam Soft Solutions, we pride ourselves in assisting the companies to lay the groundwork for the company to grow to the next level. undefined

1. Structuring Your Team

One of the best practices is establishing clear roles and responsibilities where frameworks such as the RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed) can be used to avoid role confusion and ambiguity. It is also important to come up with a reporting structure that enhances decision-making and communication systems for instance matrix reporting incorporating functional and project reporting. Cross-functional teams should be established by adopting the Spotify model of organisation, which is composed of several small teams known as squads that are charged with developing some features or services.

2. Hiring the Right Talent

Dedicated agencies, LinkedIn Recruiter, AngelList, and, most importantly, specialised job boards help to reach candidates with the exact knowledge and experience you’re looking for. To select candidates who meet these criterias, carry out tough technology assessments which include coding, system design and behavioural tests. Diversify recruitment and selection strategies in an effort to improve the thinking and abilities of the employees who are being hired for the organisation. It is important that new roles are integrated in a smooth manner.

3. Comprehensive Onboarding Programs

Invest in structured training and inductions that cover technical aspects of working and organisational culture so that the new employees can be assimilated seamlessly. Develop a buddy system and training where experienced software developers mentor the new hire and the constant training can be through online courses such as Pluralsight, Coursera or Udacity. Consider using weekly or bi-weekly performance check-ins with performance management solutions such as 15Five or Culture Amp to keep track of new hires’ activity and progress and give constructive feedback.

The Final Word

Managing the level of software development team you hire in your startup is even more important when it comes to sustaining growth at the right time. This is particularly true for remote software development teams. In this way, having the ability to identify the main signs associated with the necessity for expansion, as well as knowing how to apply efficient and technical solutions, it is possible to keep the startup company adaptable, proactive, and receptive toward market stimuli. That is why at Ateam Soft Solutions, we are ready to assist you in overcoming this and shaping a high-quality remote software development team for your business. Call us now and discover how we can help you grow your business.


Azeez Bijin April 24, 2023