3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team
We spoke with Florian Gamper, freelance CTO/CIO whose background is in Software Engineering from Enterprise Backend to Web and Mobile. Florian is a speaker at our Leaders in Tech: Berlin event and over the years he has built numerous startups, Engineering Teams and Ventures for Companies like Dr. Oetker, BCG Digital Ventures and Columba. Resulting in projects like Coup (Electric Scooter Sharing for Bosch), Mein-Dach (Community Platform for Brass Monier) or backen.de (Oetker Digital).
As a Leader in Tech, we asked Florian what his 3 Top Tips are for Building a Successful Engineering Team
TIP 1 – Recruiting and interviewing your dream team
It starts with finding the talent. No longer do you have to wait for them to find you, now there’s a much more bi-directional process where you apply to them directly. This helps both sides engage in a deeper partnership. Be prepared to give your ideal candidate(s) an interesting story behind your company and an explanation as to how together, the projects can help take them to the next level.
Don’t ruin their first impression of your company! Before any interview takes place make sure the right people are in the room, and that you’re set up with a proper internet connection and good video chat system for remote interviews (not kidding … falling out of interviews all the time ruins your first expression … so ditch skype).
Finding and recruiting the right people to build a successful Engineering Team takes a lot of time. Don’t rush the process and if you have the funds to use freelancers for the intermediate, do it, it helps a lot. Never hire in doubt or rush.
Now it’s time to build your team.
TIP 2 – Cultivating the perfect environment
To create the perfect environment for an engineering team to thrive, the culture, supported from the top down, has to be right. To excel, you need to create a supporting culture with a welcoming and open mindset, which each member of the team needs to be a part of. To achieve this there are three simple rules: you have to build a culture that doesn‘t blame, gives fame, has no shame (it’s ok to admit a mistake) for the team to thrive. Set guidelines within which they have the freedom to experiment and thrive.
Glitches can appear if you don’t have the right processes in place to support your successful engineering team. To help track and record workflow you need to have stable processes in place such as CI/CD, Wiki, Tasks.
Listening, can help you spot the early signs that you’ve got the culture right. People will not only talk to each other about work, but also about their lives and hobbies. Bonds form and they’ll do some stuff together after work, ensure these are never siloed in the engineering team.
Never fear to lose the wrong people.

TIP 3 – The Future for Engineering Teams
Engineering Teams have to prepare to be more and more involved in production processes. Continuous deployment is a key to fast and steady delivery. In the near future teams will get more diverse in skills and topics as ML and other Cloud Technologies are going to be part of wider projects.
Leaders in Tech: Berlin
Florian explores this topic deeper at the June instalment of our Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup, where he shares advice on what he looks for in the ideal candidate and what good teams need in order to thrive.   

Jacob McCulloch

Next stop for Austin Fraser? Berlin!

Jacob McCulloch, Sales Director, leads our second German expansion to Berlin!
We’re proud to announce in 2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Berlin. We want to continue to create new opportunities for our teams as well as providing a thorough offering for our clients in the North of Germany.
This expansion will be led by our Director, Jacob McCulloch, who says, “As one of the top tech cities in the world, Berlin is a rapidly growing market. We’re excited to be able to help more clients be part of this huge tech expansion and ensure they have the best talent to propel them forward. Austin Fraser has come a long way since we opened our German office just over three years ago, growing from a team of two to a truly national player.”
We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, we will recreate this again in Berlin.

We’ve spent four years building our presence and markets throughout the Bavarian region in Germany with a centralised base in Munich, venturing up to Berlin for several business opportunities, we are keen to build and maintain more of a presence there. We’ve created an incredible infrastructure of people who are continually pushing themselves and their colleagues around them. The environment we’ve created encourages everyone to strive to achieve. We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, this is a balance we will emulate again in Berlin.
Our people are vital to our success, one of our primary focuses in our 2020 vision is to continue to shape our business around them and enable them to travel, progress and diversify their careers. What this means is investing in our people and creating opportunities for them to develop both their skills and themselves in progressive roles and have the option to work internationally.
“We want our team to have a sense of limitless possibility.” Pete Hart, CEO
“We get under the skin of new geographies by investing in the local market, from the grassroots up, bringing in the best people on the ground, while also enabling our UK teams to make a real difference and fulfil professional ambitions. Creating exciting career opportunities for our people is as important as the commercial outcomes. We want our team to have that sense of limitless possibility. Our new Berlin venture is a major part of this story and we’re thrilled to be taking our offer to this rapidly growing market as well as giving our people the chance to work and live in this incredible city.” – Pete Hart, CEO.

Are you investing in future management?

The importance of investing in future management

In order for a business to succeed it needs to have solid foundations of senior members of staff who have the knowledge and willingness to lead and develop teams to help push the business forward.
What happens when the good manager’s begin to hand in their notices, or retire? We typically go to job boards, post an advert or look for internal candidates and start the recruitment process. This brings us back to the issue of attracting the most talented and engaged candidates to fill these roles.
These traditional hiring methods are not always effective in terms of longevity due to the demographic of the market.  If we continue hiring from the very small pool of candidates that is currently available, we’ll effectively be recycling the same management throughout the industry.
We need to modernise our teams. We need to start thinking about are our future management.
One of my favourite examples of future management is one I featured in my previous blog, Brit Rocks – Women in Quarrying. I successfully introduced an Assistant Quarry Manager to a business in October 2015. This young woman has since been promoted to Quarry Manager and is highly spoken of by her peers and management. The business she’s joined genuinely believes she will positively contribute towards the continual development of the company.  
It’s reassuring to know that with time and commitment a junior member of management can make such a huge impact. Many businesses neglect to see the value in hiring junior members of management as they typically are not able to make an impact on the business immediately. However, this example shows that through the support of her business and her personal willingness she has found her feet and is excelling in her role.
I’m by no means saying that we shouldn’t employ people straight into managerial positions…that would be ludicrous! If you have a vacancy we need to recruit. However, what I am saying, is that whilst we have teams in full operation, it’s important to focus on bringing in skilled and determined candidates. These need to be people who have the ambition to develop into management but are also passionate about our sector. We need to create a team of potential managers who truly care.
This will create a cycle whereby great managers will create great teams. If the cycle is successful, these teams will then go on to create their own teams of future management through coaching and support. If we get people in early doors, who are eager to learn and determined to succeed, it puts us in the best possible position to enable this cycle.  

Stop thinking about the now, and consider the future. How can you utilise the strongest members of your team to help you, to create your next generation of management?.
Personally, I find these three hiring methods help my clients to identify the best candidates for said generation.

Assessment Centres
Open Days
Trainee Programmes

Throughout my career I have successfully introduced six future managers to various business via these methods. Having followed up with them all, it’s great to see that they are showcasing promising signs of a bright career ahead.  It’s prompted me to think about why other businesses aren’t focusing more effort on securing their future too.  
It’s all well and good now while we’re all fit and healthy and willing to manage our business, but why not start thinking about our successors?  These are the people we can to train and mould to ensure the continued success of our business after we’ve left.
I implore you to consider the importance your businesses’ demographic, and if hiring from a different pool of candidates could bring success to your business.  It’s time to start equipping our industry with the talent it needs to succeed in the future.  
If you want any further advice on a hiring strategy we’re always happy to help.

Preparing for a new engineering generation: Iain McCulley discusses how Industrie 4.0. could change manufacturing recruitment.

Today’s manufacturing sees the merger between IT and engineering to create a concept called ‘Industrie 4.0.’. In intelligent factories, machines and products can already communicate with each other, co-operatively driving production. Raw materials and machines are interconnected within an ‘Internet of Things’ to create highly flexible, individualised and resource friendly mass production.
As we go through a digital revolution, technology is bound to play a bigger part in the manufacturing process, changing the way we train, employ and source personnel within engineering. Even though this won’t fully come into practise for another 20 years, it’s important that businesses start to accommodate for future plans to stay ahead of the curve. With Industrie 4.0. having the potential to revolutionise the industry on a global scale, our specialist consultant, Iain McCulley, comments on how both clients and candidates can ensure that the right people are placed into the right manufacturing positions.
Within a fast moving market, engineers need to remember that their role is vital to development and manufacturing processes by removing costs, wastage and ultimately keeping things moving. Whether you are a graduate, have direct working experience or specific training through an apprenticeship, the manufacturing process will offer a range of occupations to consider.
In both your CV and during interviews, provide specific and well articulated examples of where you’ve put direct or transferrable skills into practise. Be enthusiastic about the role, ask the interviewer questions about their company and prepare for some technical questions to set yourself above the competition.
Working alongside a specialist recruiter can provide you with invaluable management throughout the recruitment process, from job role advice, CV alterations and interview preparation. Those recruiters who are experts within their sector will already have go-to clients and will be able to generate interest about your job move.
For companies to stay at the forefront of the global transformation, considering candidates who don’t have direct sector experience can open a new pool of transferrable skills. Automotive and fasting-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors, for example, share similar fast-paced, customer-focused environments. With the foundation skill set in place, it’s possible for an engineer with either background to transfer and adapt their valuable skills with minimal training.
Additionally, hiring contractors with relevant experience, who you can trust to hit the ground running, is invaluable to preventing downtime and maximising efficiency.
Dealing with a fast-paced environment goes hand-in-hand with an efficient recruitment system. By using an established recruiter, businesses and candidates are able to deal with sudden job changes and expansion productively.
Being able to advise both parties on streamlined processes ensures top candidates join quality businesses faster, saving time and money. Job specifications and interviews are dealt with in the correct way and candidates are specifically chosen to fit a certain company.

Iain McCulley specialises in placing Interim Engineering Managers, Project Managers, Project Engineers and Controls & Automation professionals, specifically within the manufacturing and FMCG sector. Why not drop him a line at either 0118 342 0300 or [email protected]

Meet the Texas team: Jamaal Chinn

It gives us great pleasure to welcome our latest member to the US team: Jamaal Chinn!
Jamaal worked as a property manager for one Nebraska’s largest property management firms based in Lincoln, NE, before moving to Austin, TX in April 2014 to take a position with a digital marketing firm. Whilst there, Jamaal supported online reputation management for small and local businesses, along with their online presence overall.
‘Over the last few years, Austin has ranked at the top of countless lists for hottest cities when it comes to start-ups and technology.  It’s only fitting that Austin Fraser’s first US home will be in the heart of this growing hub. After hearing AF’s incredible story, I was so excited to join a talented team that is looking to change the face of recruitment in the Austin area and can’t wait to make my mark on the industry!’
Find Jamaal on LinkedIn
[email protected]