4 Levels of Software Team Performance

Most software development teams want to reach the point where they are an effective, “high-performing” team. Individuals on high-performing teams report feeling more energized and more motivated by their work than employees on more traditional teams. High-performing teams lead to better employee retention, better software outcomes, and easier scalability. But building a high-performing team takes time and business buy-in.

Are you trying to improve the performance of your teams? We’ve identified four levels of team performance to help you assess how your teams work now and what it will take to increase your performance level. Understanding your level could change the way you recruit and onboard new team members and will help you understand where you should focus your attention.

Curious how your teams stack up? Take our free assessment.

4 Levels of Software Team Performance

Level 1 – Building

In the building stage, teams define success as getting the work done. Team members often act as individual contributors working on the same project rather than a collective group. Often at this level, business requests for software are sent to the delivery team with little context or follow up feedback. The team doing the work can often be separated from the Product Owner or business sponsor, making it harder for them to build the right solution for the end users.

Level 2 – Improving

In the second stage, success is defined by the team operating effectively as a unit. Teams use frameworks for inspection and improvement and are given time and space for collaboration and continuous learning. An improving team will be interested in the business impact of the software they deliver and works in a way that prepares them to make changes and iterate when feedback is received. There is still room for improvement here. For example, often on these teams, communication with the business is limited to the business analyst or Product Owner and often direction and feedback is only sent one-way down to the team.

Level 3 – Partnering

At level 3, success is defined by the team operating effectively as a part of the greater business strategy. Team conversations about inspection and improvement spill out of department lines and help spread business agility across the organization. At this stage, teams have much more interaction with the business prior to, during, and after development, which helps them make quick pivots and improve ROI.

Level 4 – Steering

This is the top, most advanced level. Teams at this level are leading innovation for the entire organization. This level of leadership from IT spills out beyond your company and other organizations anxiously await your new releases. You might even have team members offering to share the way your teams operate with the broader community. At level four, development pace is smooth, requirements are prioritized according to ROI benchmarks and goals from market research, and product concepts are generated with input from the technology departments.

Learn more about each of these levels and see where your teams fall with our free assessment.

Nikki Dent

Nikki Dent

Nikki is a technical copywriter for Aptera. She has a Bachelor’s degree in writing from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind. In her role at Aptera, Nikki enjoys learning and writing about the technology and strategy at work across the company.

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