Building and Managing Competitive Software Teams – Part 1 of 5

David Ward founded Telegraph Hill in 2010 with the goal of providing elite business software development teams for critical time-to-market projects, because the smallest team of right-skilled, co-located engineers always completes the highest quality software in the least time and at the least cost.

“Even while software disrupts industry after industry, finding a reliable software development firm and contracting with them is more similar to bathroom remodeling than ecommerce. We are looking to change that.”

This multipart series will show you how David and his team at Telegraph Hill are changing the way IT gets software to “Done”.


Almost every company today is in the software business. Companies like Microsoft and Facebook are native to the software space — they are “driven-by” software.  But software is now a component of just about every product and service offered today. Companies that are not native to the software world are challenged to get up to speed rapidly on the discipline of software development — they are “driven-to” software.

Companies of all sizes and types often struggle to manage the complexity, talent acquisition and people management issues of software while still delivering an aggressive backlog of scope on a limited schedule. Scaling software development teams rapidly to quickly exploit new software technologies is a particular challenge.

For both small and large companies, meeting these challenges involves staffing new, right-skilled project teams quickly using all available means:

  • Employees
  • Contractors
  • Professional services firms
  • Staff augmentation firms, etc.

An integration architecture to rapidly absorb new software assets is also a key success factor. Companies of all sizes must master the key tradeoffs, such as technology build/buy/reuse, or choices around infrastructure, the web, mobile, big data, etc.

For larger companies, a pre-defined software integration process synchronized with their existing deployment process is also necessary if schedules are to be kept short, and high business quality assured. This is especially critical when engaging with today’s fast-moving startups.

The pace of today’s software industry is dizzying. An “app culture” characterized by small-footprint packages with short life-cycles drives the need to recruit new software talent at affordable rates. Software natives and companies new to the field are challenged to keep up the pace and the demand for more and more apps, that need to be developed on shorter and shorter timelines. Software development project management is more critical than ever, and yet there remains no silver-bullet, off-the-shelf process that works for all companies, at all times.

While the Agile approach to software development has become popular it needs to be stripped to its most pragmatic essence:

  • Have the smallest, co-located team
  • With right-skilled engineers
  • That deliver the highest quality software
  • At the lowest cost
  • In the shortest period of time

Companies that master the many challenges of software development also learn that there is no process priesthood: coaching and mentoring is better than a top-down approach for improving software management.

Comment here and join us for Part 2  – Common Problems in the series “Building Software Teams”. If you are facing these types of issues in your organization please Contact us.