I wrote in my last blog about what a BAU team is and the benefits of having one for your website. But what makes a successful BAU team and how can you make it run smoothly?
As with most things, it’s all about people. Having a solid team is key.
You need a team of people who work extremely well together, look out for each other, have a passion for their work and a who can form real relationships and sense of engagement with the "customers" (business users etc...). They don’t all need to be outgoing, vocal and opinionated (that could be horrendous), what you need is a really good range that fit well together.
This applies for skillset too. Because of the variety of “urgent” requests that come in, the team needs to have a broad range of skills. At a minimum you need a server side web developer, front end developer, content editor, QA and someone to do basic graphics manipulation. You will probably also need access to a copywriter, System Administrator, DBA, Designer and User Experience (UX) designer at some point too.
And of course an amazing PM to keep everything ticking over, keeping everyone updated on work status and making sure things get done!
If you’re lucky, you may have team members who have more than one skill. E.g. a server side developer with CSS and JS skills or a content editor who can also prepare images and videos.
In my experience the cover of skills and specialisms takes a while to establish, as you don’t see all people’s skills straightaway, they evolve and not always into what they want!
For example, a .NET developer on one of the teams I work with has the nickname ‘Google maps boy’ (he hates it!). Although it's not a skill that is related to .NET development, it’s an area he’s particularly skilled and experienced in and regularly comes in very useful.
The point is, it’s important to recognise that everyone’s skills aren't always immediately obvious and shouldn't just be limited to the role their job title suggests.
It's also important to respect the fact that everyone's contributions are as important as each others. ‘Google maps boy’s’ skills are just as essential as a content editor, front end developer or QA as without one of them the whole thing just couldn’t work.
What we are very careful of, is that we don’t want to pigeon-hole people too much or worse, put all our eggs in one person’s basket. So we pair up, learn from each other, share the load and behave like a team.
Applying a ‘pull’ mentality works to achieve this team spirit.
Just because the developer has done their bit doesn’t mean they’re done. As a team of people we’re not done until the item we’re trying to complete is live and signed off by the person who has requested it.
This means instead of pushing things into the delivery pipe we all have to pull items through. Developers help QAs, PMs help content editors, etc… Everyone getting stuck in and not being precious about the work needed to be done.
This helps share the burden in pressured times and ensures that we all understand the work we’ve completed and have all contributed in delivering something the client holds value in.