Close your eyes, click your heels, and repeat after me: “There’s no development team like my development team.” If you could put together a dream team of developers who could tackle almost any project, what type of players would you look for? Do you want hotshots, fast learners, or big-picture analysts? Here are my first-round draft picks:

  • The Fighter Pilot: This extremely talented prima donna is the person other developers love to hate. He or she is on the cutting edge of technology and picks up new languages or tools quickly. Fighter Pilots think very highly of their abilities, and they can back them up. (At least, you hope they can.)
  • The Firefighter: The “get something done” team member, the Firefighter isn’t afraid of ruffling feathers or handling a difficult business driver or coworker. The Firefighter is a realist and frequently answers questions with “Yeah, we could do that if we had six more months.”
  • The Field General: This leader sees the scope of the entire application or system. This person is typically a QA or systems analyst whose guiding philosophy is “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” He or she scopes out how the project or application may conflict with existing systems.
  • The Bench Player: Your whole team can’t be all-stars. You need to have a solid group of junior developers who maintain code. In most cases, Bench Players aren’t team leaders, but they pitch in to help the stars through the rough spots. Selecting the right Bench Players is just as important as picking the right Fighter Pilot—even hotshots have off-days. Getting emerging superstars some playing time can help them move into leadership positions.

Of course, few developers put “Fighter Pilot” or “Field General” on their resumes. So how do you find these players? Check out Building the killer development team by contributor Jeffrey Kay, or read Jeff Davis’ review of  Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers.

Keep dreaming

What kind of developer dream team would you put together? Drop us a note or post a comment below.