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Say, I am given a list of 5 developers, and I have to choose 3 of them for my project. What will be the best way to do so?

Currently, I just give them a basic module from the current project and assess the code and the time taken. Is there a better way that does not require 2-3 days of work from all the developers?

  • Unclear what this has to do with PjM.... – Danny Schoemann Jun 15 '16 at 9:06
  • I want to start a new project soon, and I have to decide which of the five developers to take in to my team. Both technical and personality assessment is needed, obviously. Maybe there is a better place to ask this question? – jitendragarg Jun 15 '16 at 10:41
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So as I understand, you would not like to invest 2-3 days in assessing their skills (of course the best method is the code writing efficiency) to make selections?

I feel one of the most important skills for a programming guy is the ability to debug programs. Better the debugging skills, better the efficiency of the programmer. I have always assessed the skills of a developer that way. So, get some programs (of the platform your team is working on) with some issues and ask each one of them to debug and find the reasons. This should not take more than 4 hrs and will provide you an answer, which will give you a good assessment of their programming skills.

Another remote option is to make the assessment based on the analytical ability. It may not be directly linked but can be a good way of judging their ability to be a good programmer. There are plenty of analytical ability tests available on the internet but be sure to choose questions, which requires the programmers to use their analytical skills.

  • Most programmers that I know would object to undergoing tests every time a new project starts. – Danny Schoemann Jun 16 '16 at 11:43
  • Sounds good. I might try that. At least better than 2-3 days. And yes, the reason is simple. If I end up hiring someone new, I can't get them to work for 2 days. 2 hour technical test might instead work fine. – jitendragarg Jun 16 '16 at 12:42
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  1. Check their CVs and look for experience and other talents that will add value to the team. Also, keep in mind which skill sets are key to your project

  2. Get feedback from previous project managers and tech leads because mastery in technical subjects not always translates to a good team member. Important to check timely delivery and if possible, code quality/defect rate

  3. Check if they have worked together before and ask each one (if possible) out of 5 developers who would they pick to form the "A" team

  4. Remember that the project is good as the TEAM that work on it, not the individual.

  5. Follow your instincts

  • What if some of them are completely new to the company? Then I have no access to their background. And technical work is not always similar, you can be doing any number of things at your last workplace, or even last job. So, technical assessment won't work like this. Of course, you have to assess people's abilities to work as a team, in which case Danny suggested something good to try. – jitendragarg Jun 15 '16 at 10:40
  • Well, if they are new to the company you should have access to their CVs and to the person that made the technical assessment and determined they are a good asset to your company. – TTKDroid Jun 15 '16 at 11:42
  • If you are not sure about your company talent acquisition process and staff, you should raise it with your senior management. You asked what to do without conducting a thorough technical assessment and we tabled very good options. You know better your constraints and your seniority as a project manager will determine the best choice to resolve this matter. – TTKDroid Jun 15 '16 at 11:47
  • I obviously have access to the technical interviewer's review. But, trusting a guy who worked on saturday just to take up the interview, sounds a bit bad. Anyway, point is to find out what other people will do in similar situation. I already have a working method which takes 2-3 days, so anything to improve said method is welcome. – jitendragarg Jun 16 '16 at 12:45
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If you're going to base it on code, then why not take code they've written already? That would save the 3 days. ;-)

Assuming your company (like all companies) hires only the best people, the quickest would be to have the team decide. Put them all in a room, outline the project (and skills needed and milestones/deadlines) and tell them you want a team of 3. Walk out and give them 15 minutes to pick a team.

This way you won't spend any time on team-politics. They chose to work with each other, so they won't complain about having to deal with each other.

They also agreed to the deadlines, so they hopefully feel a sense of responsibility to meet them.

If you're really paranoid, you could meet privately with each member of the new team, and check that they really want to work with the other 2 on this project.

  • But wouldn't that cause a lot of infighting? I mean, say 5 people are put together, and 2 of them are friends with each other. In that case, both of them will choose each other causing a lot of ruckus. Also, not sure if a cage fight type idea will fly with senior management. – jitendragarg Jun 15 '16 at 10:36
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    @jitendragarg it need not be a cage fight if you already have a culture of empowering your teams to make decisions. – RubberDuck Jun 15 '16 at 11:19
  • @jitendragarg - unless you're working in a kindergarten, I don't see any chance of what you describe. We're not discussing raises or promotions, just a small team for a single project. (Then again, it may be culture specific.) – Danny Schoemann Jun 15 '16 at 12:45
  • I guess it is culture specific. Because here I have seen people fight about random stuff all the time. – jitendragarg Jun 16 '16 at 12:43

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