Creating a successful app requires expertise in a range of skills. In our six years of business at Savvy Apps, we’ve built a world-class team largely consisting of strategists, designers, and developers. For those of you looking to start your own app journey, this blog post serves as a resource outlining the core skills needed in an app team, where to find potential candidates, and how to evaluate them.
The Impact of a CEO’s Skills on the Formation of an App Team
You might not realize it, but an app isn’t just an app, it’s a business. You become a CEO when you build an app apart from an existing company. So, the first step in putting together your mobile app business’ dream team is taking stock of the expertise already at your disposal. Namely, you.
- What is the biggest value you bring to your app team?
- Are you a big picture or a details person?
- Are you technical like Mark Zuckerberg or a strong designer like Tony Fadell?
Identify the type of CEO you are based on the skills and expertise you bring to your new venture. Once you know the skills you bring to your app team, you can then hire experts with entirely different skill sets. For example, CEOs who code and know their way around development should seek out those who specialize in design, planning, and quality assurance. Even Steve Jobs recognized his skills leaned more on the business side and needed the help of technical counterpart Steve Wozniak.
App Team Positions, Descriptions, and Duties
Most app teams require a product manager, designer, and developer. At savvy apps, we assign at least one of these roles to each app team.
Product manager. The product manager is the team leader who drives the vision of an app into a reality. He or she knows every inch of the product strategy and works to prevent miscommunications and roadblocks. This team member is comfortable in a variety of disciplines and can help in areas including user experience, long-term planning, customer service, and even marketing.
Designer. The designer is primarily responsible for crafting the app’s user interface. He or she should also be able to help with the branding of the app and the company as a whole. Beyond the app, you’ll need a logo, website and other marketing collateral.
Developer. A developer is responsible for the app’s technical architecture. He or she writes the app’s code and integrates it with any external data sources. While all team members are critical, a developer often contributes the most amount of work to an app, especially in the later phases
How to Find the Right People for Your App Development Team
Hiring for an app team isn’t all that different from hiring in general. Turn first to the people you know and their networks for experienced contacts and referrals. These connections will allow you to gain greater insights on an individual’s professional personality and reliability beyond their experience.
If you’re looking for your team to be geographically collocated, consider becoming a member of local industry groups. Meetup.com and Dribbble are just two places where you can find regular events and get to know those in design, development and similar communities.
Ways to Vet Candidates for Your App Team
Each position requires slightly different skill and experience evaluations. Any developer you’re considering must have direct experience building apps. Look for expertise in the platforms you plan on supporting. An iOS app requires a developer with Objective C and Xcode knowledge. An Android app, on the other hand, needs a developer who knows Java and Eclipse or Android Studio.
Let the work speak for itself when vetting applicants. For example, check a designer’s portfolio for a variety of experiences and a style that makes sense for your app. For any position, pick two or three screens from an app (or product) they worked on, designed, or developed. Ask your applicants to comment on their reasoning behind these screens as well as what tough decisions they encountered in the creation process and what potential improvements they’ve identified in hindsight.
We also use non skill-based assessments to prioritize the cohesiveness of our team. Everyone who joins savvy apps has to take the Sally Hogshead How to Fascinate assessment as a measure of each team member’s personality. It’s important to make sure your team members work well together, a quality beyond skills and experience
Hiring your own team also requires more than just finding the right people . If you take this approach versus hiring an entire team like savvy apps itself, you have to handle everything from HR to legal issues. How much vacation and sick leave will you allow? Will team members receive equity? How will you deal with local and federal tax filings? Those items are beyond the scope of this immediate article. Check back for coverage of these considerations.
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