Kevin Tran

Writing Code and Grinding Coffee.

About me

My failure when building a tech team

Aug 18, 2015

This is my story about building a tech team.

I am a senior fullstack developer, and I used to be the team lead of a startup company in vietnam. I built a tech team with 3 people in that company and I totally proud about them. They are great people. I also think about building a team from my university, teach them web programming from the beginning level.

And with the my mentor’s encourage, I have built a team with 5 students.

I eager want to help them to concentrate in learning Ruby on Rails and Web development. My goal is teaching them enough skills and experiences so later on, they can join a startup or a product company, and they can build a website themself.

I don’t try to push them to be perfect, cause I don’t know how and I am not, haha.

And also, I want to build a startup as my side project. I have several ideas but I thought I can’t do it myself. I need their help.

Actually I had implemented 2 of my ideas.

I must admit that they are great students. They learn so fast as I expected. And I am really try to teach them a lot during a very short time. What I try to teach them include: html, css super high technique in html Ruby on rails How to create a website basic, upload, search engine.. After teaching them these stuffs, I do test them by asking them create frontend website with many requirements, their websites can be compared to themeforest’s products.

It’s the time that I start working at a part time job, and with their knowledges, I think it’s time to work with them in a real project. It’s awesome, I think I am harvesting what I growth during six months.

I don’t know the problem when they join my project, their motivations were gone, I have no idea why this happened. And all I can do at this time is to keep pushing them to make something done, but still didn’t matter at all.

I was very frustrated, desperate and angry for a long time. But I want to keep my professional, so I try not to shout at them, or show them my angriness.

Actually I try some management techniques with the only hope to change this situation, I tried ask them to use some different tools like trello,,, with agile technique like morning standup (at the coffeeshop), pair programming, brain storm…, but no use at all.

After 3 months, my motivation is under the bottom. I know it’s time to quit. Also, I am moving to Singapore in this time, so I want to restart again after a short break.

This time, when I settle down in Singapore, I restarted the project myself. And I keep doing it in my free time. I spent nearly 8 weeks to finish the very first prototype. I think I worked hard enough for this project. After successfully launching it to production, I invited my friends (of course, my team are included) to use. And I talk to them about the project, this time they make me feel they are very enthusiastic in. So I have thought to try to invite 1 of them to join, I did convince myself that he can push me to do thing better and faster - be a partner, or contributor.

I know that I am not a good guys, who can be energize all the time. I am very lazy one, who need someone push, or be a model for me to follow. So I decide to contact a guy in my team - just 1 guy, cause I want to experiment again. I have a very straight talk, share with him about my idea, also tell him that I need a contributor, who push me and share the workload with me. I point to things that he will learn and how far he will go after join the project with me.

But, you can guess, he even didn’t start anything, or discuss with me, or tell me the reason that he didn’t do anything. Everytime I ask, he just promise to a new deadline and … ya, nothing still…

After 2 weeks, I tell him that I remove him out of the repository. It’s frustrating decision, But I can’t do anything else. I really want to build thing, and build this team, and help him growth. I do know that I may use a little bit happy talk, but I am really want to learn by my side project and I want to share this chance to him also. But he doesn’t accept that, and it hurt me.

I think I will try with another one in my team, but right now I am afraid if every one like him, it’ll be a really bad feeling.

Then I think, I spent a lot of time for them, teach them, pair with them. May be just I found it’s valuable, or I was doing wrong thing, or worth, I was and I am wasting my time and their time. I also think sometimes that I will do my project myself. Because it’s my side project, so my goal is just learn thing by doing.

It’s a sad story when I start building my first team.

No one know the future, and I don’t know where will my side project go…

Just one thing I know, my experience is so valuable, and I spent a well paid time. I have many good and bad memories when building a team and starting the project with them. And I still hope to have a chance working with them, also keep this team as a small tech community.

Last word, I’m totally proud to say to people that I did a great job, and I am very arrogant to be the mentor of the super awesome team. I believe your future will be awesome, guys. Your dare adventures are waiting. Keep growing and heading to the technology ocean, my best team ever.