Building a Team – Part 1.

Becoming a great team isn’t possible. Building a great team is.

Just like you can’t throw a handful of seeds into a garden and hope they grow into a cohesive collection of flora…

Just like you can’t throw a bunch of random disjointed recipes together and hope to open a successful restaurant…

Just like you can’t gather a collection of animals and put them in a room trusting they i will just get along and not eat each other…

Just like you can’t hope for the best in any of these situations, you shouldn’t expect to put a random collection on a team and just expect them to make magic. It won’t work. At least not in any long term, meaningful way.

In this series we will explore what it takes to make a great team. From setting the foundation for your team through ensuring the team you have in place succeeds it takes forethought and more than hiring the requisite number of bodies.

Start from the bottom

An effective team is built. Like anything, it should have a solid foundation to assure that as it grows, it remains stable and can produce effective products that move the company and brand forward. This is done with an eye on:


Why are you building this team? Of course the answer is obvious; You need people to work at the company. Whether you are the owner or a manager of the company, you need people on hand to, you know, actually do the work.

But, it’s not WHY you are building a team. What is the purpose of this team? What will the team be doing? You didn’t have a team, and now you have a need for a team. Find your team’s why.

Startups don’t have the same why as an internal group at a corporation. Startups in eCommerce are building a team with a different why than startups in fin-tech. Apparel eCommerce startups’ why is going to be different than food commerce.

The takeaway here is that you want to ask yourself why are you building a team for YOUR company? Once you have your why, you can start filling in the other answers.


Once you have your why you can begin to focus on your who. What are the roles that your team will have and how are they defined? With your why in place, you can move on to who you will need to get you to the goal.

As someone building a team for a startup, you might need a great developer, a great designer, and a great product manager. Because you are a startup who is building the Tesla of coffee makers, people with experience in eCommerce, coffee, industrial design, or products in the home/kitchen space narrow down your search.

Because you are a smaller team, you might also be looking for a developer who can speak the language of design and a designer who won’t run at the sight of  JavaScript.

Were you doing the same thing in a corporation, you would perhaps be looking for people more specialized in their roles as they can be in a position to lead specialized teams of their own.

But maybe not. It depends on your why.


You can figure out why you are putting together a team, the best types of people for your team, and what the team is going to be doing to achieve success. What does the finish line look like. What are the steps in the journey where you can stop look at what you’ve done and celebrate.

In an agile working environment that’s a moving target but that doesn’t mean you can’t set goals, long-term and short, to be able to see how far you’ve come and much closer you are to completion.

More-so, when you reach milestones or someone reaches a goal, you can celebrate and that’s an excuse to get cake. Which reminds me, we haven’t had nearly enough cake at the Tyrannosaurs Tech offices to celebrate our wins…

“5 Steps for Building a Great Startup Team”, INC.
“Steps to Building an Effective Team”, Berkely Human Resources

Also published on Medium.