The Roofous phenomenon

How do you like to have a team full of star developers, great leaders and excellent team culture! Well I did come across one team like that and I had the privilege of playing a small role in creating such a great team.

Team Roofous was formed in 2005 to support / develop a product which sounds similar to the team’s name. When I was tasked with forming the team, I and my then boss decided to go for a top-down approach. We decided who should be the manager for the team and we hired a person called GS. We also had 3 internal stars coming into the team as leads. We also had 10 graduate trainees coming in to the team fresh out of college.

With GS and other leads we managed to hire the rest of the team from the market. Well, the whole team was new to C# and initially we had to focus on training the team in C#. The client also supported that idea and they also arranged the leads to travel to onsite for 3 months to facilitate the knowledge transfer. One great thing about our customers is, they had a very good exposure to offshoring and they were well aware of the pitfalls in offshoring. They supported us in every move. There was a guy, let’s call him JCR, who was very supportive and knowledgeable.

We split the group into two teams 1.freshers 2.experienced developers and provided c# and .Net training for both the groups. Another good thing we were able to do was asked all the team members to do a tool (a project) in C# for 4 to 6 weeks. This has helped the team to a great extent as they had learnt most of the tricks & techniques of .Net by doing these tools. GS who believed in continuous learning has made the team to have at least 3 knowledge sharing sessions on technology, domain and soft skills every week. This has helped the entire team to learn continuously and improve their knowledge and understanding about the product and technology.

Another great thing is the team went out frequently for dinners and day outs which helped the team to really bond together. I have attended many of those outings and it was fun-filled and action oriented adventures which resulted creating a great team. They had a person to manage all these outings and the title given to that person was ‘CM’. Few guys really did the CM role very well. The amazing thing about this is, despite the team’s disbandment in 2009, it still continues to go out for dinners etc. They still have a CM who coordinates with all the guys across the world (literally). And whoever is around at that time will be present in the get-together.

No need to say that the team had excellent delivery records. For the first two years no one left the team (in 2006 & 2007 where attrition in India was at its peak). They excelled not only in project delivery they also did well in other activities (google code contest, quiz contests, certifications etc..).  After disbandment the team full of superstars went to various teams within the firm and they really did very well in each of their respective teams. Those who went out also performing very well. Now 60% of the team members are living abroad and doing really well.

I saw simple concepts like mentoring, continuous learning and mutual trust implemented in this team and worked very well. I tell the same thing to every manager I managed and every team I created but only a few actually believed. Team Roofous was one of them and credit should go to GS and the leads as well as our customers. Roofous was one team I can never create again I think..



Success factors : Team Culture,Continuous learning , transparency, quality of work, onsite support


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