One of the biggest differences between Mission and our competitors is that we work with our clients to assemble teams that best fit their needs, rather than throw them to the wild and say good luck. It doesn’t hurt that we’re choosing from a vetted network of the world’s best senior software engineers. But what truly sets us apart is our team assembly methodology. We’ve boiled it down to three essential roles — the Squad Lead, the Tech Lead, and the Contributor. We also make specialist Experts available as needed.
From the early days of Mission, it occurred to CTO & Co-founder Fred Brunel that these team elements resonate with the “holy trinity” of team building from the gaming world — The Tank, The Healer, and the Damager Dealer. “The way you build a team in games like WoW,” he explained, “lined up perfectly with how we were building our squads of vetted engineers.” We couldn’t resist the opportunity to turn this analogy into an article with a little fantastical flare. So get ready to nerd out, your quest begins…now!
Your party walks into the mouth of an enormous cave, the ceiling of which lies beyond the reach of your torches, shrouded in a looming darkness. In the distance — not nearly as far away as you’d prefer — there is a deep and ground-shaking growl. The only thing keeping you all from giving up, besides your robust inner resolve, is knowing this: You are on a highly capable and expertly assembled team…
Whether your access point is popular film and TV shows like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, or you’re a true RPG fan, you’re likely quite familiar with the kind of scene I’m setting. What more casual fans of the Fantasy genre might not have heard of before is the so-called “Holy Trinity” of RPG gaming teams, the three classes you must have — The Tank, The Healer, and the Damage Dealer or DPS (damage per second).
Here’s how these character types lines up with the three essential team roles we have here at Mission:
The Tank and the Tech Lead
The Tank in the gaming world is a character whose bravery is only matched by their strength and ability to weather even the toughest conflicts. They’re the frontline, charging in to take on even the scariest challenges, soaking up all that damage. Through their tireless efforts, they’re able to drain the capacity of the enemy while the damage dealing DDS members quickly finish it off.
On top of contributing code, the Tech Lead provides technical direction, and helps estimate and prioritize tasks. Our Tanks ensure code quality, engineering best practices, and that each contributor is working on the right task based on expertise, experience and business objectives.
The Tech Leads here at Mission similarly take on the biggest challenges up close. There’s no problem too monstrous for their stalwart resolve! [examples of things that can go horribly wrong on a project = monsters]? They can take it. And they won’t stop until the paths are cleared and the quest is complete.
Healer — Squad Lead
Just because a Healer isn’t charging right into the thick of the conflict, it doesn’t mean they’re doing any less important a job. They’ve got plenty of work to do making sure the team stays strong and on task. Most of their power is directed at enhancing, protecting, and of course healing the rest of the team.
The Squad Lead’s responsible is adjusted based on mission requirements and the team composition, so they have to nimble. They help with business requirements if needed or just focus on team alignment.
Our Healer is the key point of contact with the team (although the full team is available at any time), and makes sure development stays aligned with the client’s business goals.
Contributors — DPS
Damage dealers, or DPS, are no less crucial for the team to function. After all, while the Tank is wearing the enemy out and the Healer is providing critical support, someone’s got to keep attacking the problem until it’s off the board. Specializing in doing everything necessary to eliminate whatever stands in the party’s way, the Damagers use their unique skills to reduce threats to zero.
At Mission, Contributors provide developmental firepower. We pick between 2 and 6 of the best for each project to maintain optimal cohesion. Their job is to take on the deliverables, doing the majority of the coding. Supported by the Squad Leads and following the Tech Leads inspiring example, the Contributors know that their contribution to the team is an essential part of the team’s total might.
Walking Through a Real Example
We start with our sales team gathering our clients’ requirements and needs for the project. Along with that will be a proposal for a team structure.
Once the deal is signed, the search for the squad begins. Our Talent Acquisition team gathers profiles based on relative (and relevant) experience and skills, and these profiles are then presented to the client.
The TLDR version of the process is that the Squad Lead and Tech Lead meet with the client, present the engineers they have in mind for the mission, and ultimately the client gives final approval.
As you can see, unique to the Mission methodology is the involvement of real live human beings at every step, with the kinds of instincts and intuitions crafted from experience and straight up unteachable talent for bringing the right people together. Of course, if a Squad and Tech Lead have worked successfully together in the past, that’ll absolutely be considered when assembling a new team. But as we have a deep roster of vetted talent, we have the privilege of being able to bring new faces into the fold, knowing they’ve got the skills and experience to perform their role to the highest standards.
Recommendations also come from one network member to another. On one recent mission with AlayaCare, a Tech Lead recommended a colleague he heard was becoming available, vouching for him as he applied. He jumped on the mission and knocked it out of the park. That’s why our networking events are such a great opportunity for all our members, even brand new ones who haven’t yet been assigned a role.
No part of the Holy Trinity can do their job to the best of their ability without the other two. It’s an agile approach, no hierarchy. The archetypal approach makes it clear what the expectations and responsibilities are for each role.
From within these three main “character classes”, each member has different disciplines and tech stacks which allow us to select the perfect individuals for each client and project. It also helps that we have people from diverse backgrounds all around the world. That empowers us to find the best timezone fit, rate fit, and areas of focus and expertise to make sure that we’ve got the ideal team for any given mission.