Cursor Text

How to Gather a Competent Team For a New Project

March 29, 2023


min read

Valentine Steph

How to Gather a Competent Team For a New Project

The Liga Stavok company tells how to hire the right people in your team, retain tech talent, and develop them professionally for future projects, and how Ace AI helps them to implement this strategy.

The launch of a new project is upcoming and the company needs a team for this task ASAP. A situation every company has faced. Who will be responsible for the project? How to hire the right people, evaluate the competency of your teammates and choose those who have the relevant skills? How to develop them professionally to retain top tech talent and prepare for future projects?

Sound familiar? If yes, read the story by the Liga Stavok company about how they implemented Ace AI, the first co-pilot for engineering leadership, to find the right people, and implement continuous professional development in the workflow to retain tech talent.

Our company used to run a classic skill review of employees, which took a lot of working hours. Due to its ineffectiveness, we decided to divide this task between the HR Dept and the team leads. To do this, we needed to create a career progression framework with skills requirements for each level.

If someone from your team gets the idea that, “It’s my ceiling, there are no career opportunities for me in this company anymore,” it means that he or she will leave you for another company very soon.

To avoid this, you should create a transparent step-by-step professional development plan for every team member. That’s why the Liga Stavok company decided to automate career paths by building a mentoring program. A well-built assessment system helps to create career paths and quickly assign employees to the most suitable working tasks. The question is how this system will work? And what is more important: how to sell this tool to the team?

Why Ace AI?

To solve this task, we chose Ace AI, co-pilot for engineering leadership, which:

  • has ready-to-use skill matrix templates for 50+ tech roles updated in real-time
  • automatically identifies career path levels (or grades) of each developer in the team based on their working activity in Git
  • creates professional development goals with personalized recommendations on mentors, courses, books, and other learning activities based on requirements and skills gaps
  • provides an engineering manager with insights and recommendations on performance, motivation, and growth of the team members.

Ace AI covered all our needs to reach the goal. So, we started to create a transparent framework for your team.

Step #1. Create skills matrix

When a company is hiring, managers usually have an understanding of an ideal candidate and the skills required for the position. A Gallup research study claimed this approach has benefits: employees hired for their specific competencies show faster adaptation and are able to increase business revenue by 48%.

The orange line in the graph shows regular employees’ impact on the company's revenue. The blue line shows the impact of those hired for their skills.

The most difficult task turned out to be developing a set of requirements to evaluate the skills of a potential candidate and take into account future tasks. Skill matrices allow you to choose candidates more easily and improve the quality of the hiring process. Thus, both a team lead and a recruiter have a clear understanding of what skills a possible candidate should have to match the needs of the company. This model helps to make a transparent decision on why one person suits the position and the other does not.

At the same time, an employee also has a clear understanding of:

  • what expectations the company has
  • what the management principles in the company are
  • what he/she needs to do to perform better
  • what qualities and skills he/she needs to grow professionally
  • what skills he/she needs to have to get promoted

AI hack: To save time on creating skills matrices, we use Ace AI skills matrix templates for 50+ tech roles. These skills matrices, or skill graphs, contain the full list of skills for different engineering roles with descriptions and level requirements. Skills graphs are updated in real-time, so you always have the list of relevant skills.

Skills matrices in Ace AI

Dynamic skill matrix

When you collected the necessary information about the skills of employees and created (or chose) a skills matrix with the skills required for your company, you can go further and make the skill matrix dynamic. This means a skill matrix can be adapted to new projects and challenges, displaying the progress of employees and showing the changes in their career paths.

Step #2. Identify career path level (grade)

The fear of assessment is familiar for most of us and comes from childhood, when a teacher called our name. Being adults, we still feel stressed when someone evaluates us and our work. As a result, employees tend to resist reviews and think: “Who are you to assess me? I know I’m a professional!” or “Is it an excuse for firing me?”

Sometimes, the lack of feedback culture in the company is the reason for employees’ resistance to having a review. That’s why you should explain the benefits of skill matrices and skills assesment before implementing this practice.

So, Step 2 involves identifying the career level or grade of each developer on your team, as well as the real level of skills. To do this, a manager should assess skills using a skills matrix to see the real level of expertise and determine the level of each developer: a junior, middle, or senior level.

AI hack: To automate the process of skills assessment and identifying career levels for the whole team, you can connect Git and Ace AI will automatically show the career path levels of each developer and their skill gaps based on written code.

See how Ace AI works in practice:​​

Connect Git and Ace AI will identify career level
Connect Git and Ace AI will identify career level

Step #3. Create PDP

For example, a skills review showed that a junior front-end developer lacks certain skills to move to the middle. In a 1-on-1 with his/her manager, they make up a list of focus skills to develop and create a growth plan for a year, taking into account the company's goals. The development plan helps an employee to improve his/her skills faster.

Much depends on how clearly the plan is created. So, instead of "you need to develop a project management skill", it is better to write: "learn how to set goals and deadlines for a task, and divide the project into stages".

AI hack: Save you time on creating individual development plans for each engineer. Based on the skill gaps, Ace AI gives personalized recommendations on mentors, courses, books, and other learning materials and offers to add tasks to a development plan:

Personalized recommendations in Ace AI
Personalized recommendations in Ace AI

When an individual development plan is created, an employee starts training. There are various opportunities for developing soft skills at the Liga Stavok company. Once a quarter, we create a growth plan for the development of hard skills. For example, our employees have recently improved their knowledge of agile and the product. Also, we are implementing a mentorship program, which will allow the sharing of experience of senior employees and make the adaptation period of newcomers easier.

Step #4. Monitor progress

To ensure that your employees are making progress towards their goals, it's important to track their progress regularly.

Implementing the practice of regular 1 on 1 meetings on professional development with software engineers and feedback system can help you stay up-to-date on their progress, identify any challenges they may be facing, and update development plans if necessary.

AI hack: Use automatic agenda generated by Ace AI for your 1-on-1s based on developers’ activity in Git:

Automatic agenda for 1-on-1 meetings in Ace AI
Automatic agenda for 1-on-1 meetings in Ace AI

You can also track the process of professional skills development with automatic feedback for certain skills:

Automatic feedback for skills in Ace AI


It took a year from when the idea to implement skill matrices in our work was introduced until the moment it was implemented on pilot projects and product departments.

To summarize the results of this period, we set the stages of the process of assessment and skills development:

Step 1. Create skills matrix

Step 2. Identify grades

Step 3. Build PDP

Step 4. Monitor progress

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this system, we calculated the following metrics:

  • time spent
  • lost profits
  • lost productivity

In the first case, we compared how much time it takes for our HR managers to manage teams using the old methods, compared to the automated process with Ace AI.

​​The second metric showed us the lost profit of the company from hiring people with no relevant skills. Lost profit can be calculated not only in monetary terms. According to a Gallup study, if you don’t hire employees with the required skills, you can't:

  • increase income by 48%
  • increase performance by 22%
  • increase employees’ engagement by 30%.

​​Thus, skills review, building career paths using the dynamic model, and development of skills of your employees solve the problem of lost profits.

And finally, the last metric is lost productivity. Everything is quite simple here: we calculate how much we lose if a person lacks the required skills. Due to this factor, the productivity of such an employee is 30% lower than that of a specialist having these skills. Filling the skill gaps with the help of the new system will help solve this problem.

We expect that the implementation of Ace AI will significantly save time because managers will be able to make decisions without coordination with HR, solve business problems more quickly and free up to 28% of their working time.

Well done, check your email
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Join 5000+ engineering managers