What It Means To Be A Team Lead

Leading Makes You Feel Good

Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Our Give Camp has had a 100% completion rate. A big part of this success is credited to our team leads.

Before the Give Camp

Like any type of project, we need to collect requirements. This process has already started with the proposals the non-profits submitted. During that process, we got a general idea then a slightly more detailed proposal.

To narrow down the requirements, you should meet with the non-profit to break out the details. This meeting could be over the phone, but the best method is an in-person meeting. I usually picked a Starbucks or Panera Bread somewhere convenient to both you and the non-profit.

By the end of this meeting, you should have the following:

  1. All assets from the non-profit you need for the project
  2. If building a web site, be sure you get a list of all accounts that needed to publish the site, this includes Domain Registrar, Email, and hosting provider.
  3. Get phone numbers of everyone that will be involved in the project
  4. A basic design of the application you are going to build. This could be sketches or a simple wireframe
  5. Know the technology you are going to use to build the application. If it's a web site, you should determine if you are going to use PHP, Asp.Net, etc. If using a CMS, determine which platform you are going to build it on.
  6. Get a list of the type of people you feel you need to build the application. Such as .Net web developer, web designer, graphic artists, PHP developers, etc. This list will help the organizers assign the appropriate team members to your team.
  7. Establish accounts that you need to complete the project. Discount ASP.Net will provide a free hosting account and GitHub will provide a free bronze level accounts for 501(c)3 organizations. (See a Give Camp organizer if you need one)

During the Give Camp

As the team lead, you play multiple roles, lead developer, business analyst, and project manager. The important thing is to collect your team and establish responsibilities.

I usually start by wire framing the application on a white board with the whole team. Don't forget to include the client during this important event. Once you have the wireframe, you can begin to break out your tasks.

In all of my projects, we used a version of Agile Scrum. Breakout your tasks into stories and put them on the white board with post-it notes. Setup your board with a backlog, ready, working, complete columns. Put everything into the backlog and move stuff to ready when they are ready. Your team can move things to working when they start work on a task. You will find the feeling of making progress as you move things to complete.

Hold stand-ups. We typically did stand-ups every hour and then as the project neared completion, they were less frequent. Your stand-ups should be short, following the pattern, "this is what I did, this is what I'm going to do, and these are my roadblocks (if any)". If your team has roadblocks, it's your job to fix them.

After the Give Camp

Our motto is, "What happens at Give Camp, stays at Give Camp". So no one is expected to do anything after the Give Camp is over. The non-profits need to be able to manage your solution without any additional resources, so your project should be able to live on its own.

By Mike Therien, Co-Organizer, Southwest Ohio GiveCamp<br/>Consultant, Pinnacle Solutions Group
Contact Mike Therien