Small Development Team Problems

When a Rails application is developed by a small team – say, under six developers – some unique problems can occur.

Narrow experience

With a small team the collective experience of all of the developers can be small. This means that when a problem occurs, they have limited ideas to fix it.

This is also true with larger teams who frequently work together or come from too similar backgrounds.

Early stage problems

These problems can occur any stage of development but they are particularly damaging in early stages. Mistakes made early on compound and become bigger problems the longer they go.

Like building a house, if there are problems with the foundation then everything built on top of that is at risk.

Warning signs

An early warning sign of this is when new features or ideas are presented. Is the brainstorming session active, lively, and resulting in many wildly different solutions? Or is it quiet, reserved, and end when someone presents what appears to be a kind-of-okay idea?

Fixing small team problems

The key to fixing this problem is to help your team get more perspective.

In the long-term, this means exposing your team to more ideas and experience about Rails development (and software development in general). Have them work on various projects, send them for training and conferences, and have shared learning sessions.

In the short-term, getting more perspective might not be possible, especially if there are looming problems. One option is to hire someone with different experiences to guide, advise, and consult with your team. The different experiences will broaden the team’s thinking.

It’s even better if you can hire someone who has experience injecting new experiences into teams. I can help troubleshoot problems with your team and solve them. If you are interested, contact me so we can discuss this further.

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