Domain knowledge is down here at the bottom of the list because if someone has the
first three qualities, he or she is likely to be a quick study. That said, the more one
knows about the technology at hand or the business domain, the better.
One popular and expected feature is missing from my list: Communication skills. To
me, it is too much to ask that the team be full of great communicators. The leaderrship
of the technology department must take responsibility for successful communication.
When you apply these criteria to your hiring, like-minded individuals attract each
other: Technical people love coming into an environment in which they can learn from
their peers and don't have to watch their back. My teams are like that.
As far as team-building goes, I am an admiring student of Tom DeMarco, author of
many books on team-building for software development, including Peopleware and,
my personal favorite, Deadline, a novel about managing software development.
These books stress empowerment and repeat a lesson I learned long ago from my father, a
fabulous manager and leader. I leave you with his advice: If you want the best out of
people, you have to let them screw it up.