After every project, we sit down together over a round of beers (homebrew served by our own robotic Kegerator) and look for ways to improve our process. After 16 years of doing that, it's obvious that the way we organize project teams is the primary indicator of whether a project is successful and efficient, or underwhelming.
Say no to large teams, no matter how impressive they look
A bloated team with too many people at meetings may look like an agency is giving you their full attention, but it's usually just a show. Too many idle hands is the best way to spend money fast. Trying to keep a dozen people on the same page is difficult and unnecessary. Communication gets muddled and internal meetings become more important than face-to-face time with the clients.
Small teams get more sh*t done
We keep our teams small, self-organizing and packed with leaders and experts. They aren't waiting for direction or a task list. They know when to act independently, and when to call for back-up. Everyone's accountable and everyone is responsible for their subject area.
By the end of each project at BRS, our client's usually know not just the names of every team member they worked with, but their pets, their favorite cocktail and how they take their coffee.
What Big Room Studios self-organizing teams look like
Small teams are powerful. After signing on to work together, we organize 3-6 people based on your project’s needs. Each team is cross-functional with developers who are experts in your platform, designers, UX and digital marketing experts.
Our self-organizing teams are capable of managing themselves so we can save time and money avoiding unnecessary internal meetings and process and can get more work done. Your team won’t be twiddling thumbs waiting for tasks to be assigned to them. They identify next steps and have what they need to take action.
You will have a project manager who will facilitate calls, meetings and ensure everyone on the team is getting the resources they need to be successful. Unlike many other companies, we also encourage you to communicate directly with specialists to discuss specific project attributes. We find this avoids bottlenecks and miscommunication that might happen when teams are playing telephone between managers and the team.
As your project progresses we bring in our most critical non-team members for peer code reviews and design critiques. These reviews allow us to catch errors and potential gaps before the users do. A smart and nimble team is key to the best product.
Dedicated teams matter to us
Your team is yours - At Big Room, you'll work with the same core team through the entire lifecycle of your project from kick-off meeting to celebratory beers. Building trust and open communication is our core goal. A dedicated core team is just better for everyone.
How to find the right team while hiring an agency
The best self-organizing teams aren't found, they're made. It takes time to build trust and collaboration within a company. If you're hiring a new agency, ask how long the average team member has been working there. High turnover is a red flag. A BIG red flag.
Most of the team at Big Room Studios has been working together for over a decade. As we've slowly grown, we've added new team members, but our core crew of developers are still working here. Because we are constantly helping our employees grow and evolve, and we give them space to be actual human beings, rather than "resources" on a timesheet, they stick around. With an insanely employee low turn-over rate, our teams work incredibly well together. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and how to support each other to get the best results without throwing each other under the bus.
If you're looking for a strong development team for your next custom software project, or you're a startup founder interested in getting their tech product off the ground - give us a shout and let's start the conversation.