Even mid-sized, experienced product development companies can come across difficulties when it comes to putting together effective product development teams.

When you’re expanding into a new market, or trying to redesign a finished product, you may find that you need a team with a new perspective. Here are a few tips for assembling a solid product development team.

What does an ideal product development team do?

The ideal product development team facilitates communication, shares ideas, and identifies constraints early on in the process to ensure the successful development of your product in a timely fashion and at the highest quality possible.

Product development teams should be formed at the very beginning of the product design process, include team members from a variety of backgrounds, keep core members limited, and ensure members have experience working in a team environment.

Tip #1: Involve team members early

To avoid making many changes after a product has been designed, it’s important to assemble a product development team as early in the product development process as possible. Factors such as design cycle time and product development cost should be considered at the very start of product development and incorporated as the product is designed.

Tip #2: Include members from a variety of functions

A cross-functional team includes team members from different specialty areas. Rather than having a team full of design engineers, it’s helpful to also include team members from production and support functions. This will help in designing both the product and the processes required to produce the product. The team as a whole should be able to speak to factors such as marketability, producibility, cost, and testability, so it makes sense to include team members from all of these areas.

Tip #3: Keep core members limited

The larger a team is, the harder it is to coordinate activities and schedule meetings. The ideal team size is generally 8 to 10 core members, but it’s important to balance this with the above objective of ensuring team members are representative of more than one functional area.

Tip #4: Build group problem solving skills

Team members should have experience working in a group environment. People that have never worked together before will go through some adjustments regardless of how much team experience they have.

Educational psychologist, Bruce Tuckman, has noted that all teams go through the same four stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. No matter how experienced each team member is, or how long they’ve worked at your company, it will take some time for everyone to adjust to working as a team.

Effective teams need to be able to problem solve as a group. It would be advantageous for your product development team to spend some time together through workshops or formal team building training before the product development project gets underway.

If your team is stalled, or if you don’t have the internal resources you need for a particular product, take a look at Pivot’s product development and design services. And for more on this topic, read our post “4 Common Product Development Mistakes.”