A company’s culture lays the foundation for actions, decisions, and the team spirit that help businesses accomplish goals. The culture you adopt in your company impacts the level of innovation, collaboration, and other qualities exhibited by employees.
The right culture will nurture the qualities employees should have, which will bolster your efficiency and output. On the other hand, the wrong culture can stifle innovation, collaboration, and the drive for success.
If you are leading a team of developers, you must adopt a software culture that breeds continuous learning, experimentation, innovation, knowledge sharing, and peer-to-peer mentoring.
This kind of software culture will help ensure that your development team is ahead of the curve in creating helpful solutions for your customers.
This post will help you understand why you need a strong culture among your software development teams. Read on!
What is the meaning of company culture?
A company’s culture is made up of the goals, values, and behaviours it upholds. Culture affects how a business does everything from hiring and onboarding, to customer relations, remote work policies, benefits for staff, and more.
Your company culture also affects how your employees and customers perceive you. Moreover, it affects how they eventually relate to your company.
For example, if your employees feel your company culture encourages innovation, they tend to focus more on their creativity to develop innovative ideas and solutions.
On the customer side, your culture affects the resources you put into building a helpful product for your clients. Your culture also affects your communication and relation with the clients, how you approach their problems, and proffer solutions.
What are the elements of a healthy software development culture?
A software development team culture is the shared set of values, beliefs, practices, and behaviours that shape your team’s identity and how they work together to build quality products.
The following are some crucial elements that can help you build a healthy software development team culture:
1. Collaboration and communication
Collaboration and communication are critical for software development teams. If encouraged, strong team collaboration can foster innovative problem-solving, where members’ skills, ideas, and software development experience are collectively brought to the table to tackle challenges and develop helpful products for customers.
According to a 2020 Atlassian DevOps Trends Survey, a whopping 94 percent of software developers agree that strong collaboration within a software development team is crucial to the success of a software development project.
2. Continuous improvement
Building a culture that encourages continuous improvement among your software development team is essential. Teams that prioritise constant learning and improvement foster a culture of optimisation and excellence, helping them seek ways to improve their processes, tools, and skills.
3. Ownership and accountability
Giving your developers ownership over certain tasks helps them hold themselves accountable for their work and creates a culture of responsibility and transparency. In this case, everyone is committed to delivering high-quality products. Accountability is even more vital for remote software development teams.
You must develop a method that allows your team members to feel accountable for delivering the task at hand, as well as being accountable to one another.
4. Diversity and inclusion
Showing you value diversity and strongly support inclusivity is essential in building a quality software development team. It will help your employees feel respected, understood, and loved, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Besides being the right thing to do, it is also nearly impossible these days to build development teams without hiring internationally. Besides, embracing different perspectives and backgrounds makes you attract the best talent worldwide. So, you might as well do it right.
Instilling a sense of security and belonging is necessary to help your software development team perform at their best in your company. Not to mention, it also boosts retention rates, which is one of the biggest problems tech companies face today.
5. Agile methodology
If customer satisfaction is your foremost goal, you must foster an agile mindset in your software development team. Agile methodology is a software development approach that emphasises collaboration, flexibility, and fast delivery.
It employs an iterative and incremental approach to software development. By breaking down tasks into smaller bits, this methodology helps teams to focus on delivering working software quickly and continuously, with a strong leaning towards customer feedback and adaptation to changing requirements.
6. Code quality and testing
Teams that prioritise code quality and testing create a culture of excellence. Allowing your software development team to test and experiment helps them find loopholes in the product they are building. After much testing and experimentation, your team should be able to develop high-quality, functional, and helpful software for your customers.
7. Knowledge sharing and mentoring
Since continuous learning is necessary for software engineering, it’s helpful to encourage knowledge sharing in your company. Software teams that prioritise knowledge sharing collaborate better than teams that don’t.
This is because sharing knowledge and mentoring helps bring your software engineering team members on the same page, regardless of their individual level of skills, experience, or accomplishment. Besides, sharing knowledge will encourage your software development employees to develop a culture of learning and growth.
8. Team spirit
Team spirit is a significant element of software development team culture. You should encourage communication, teamwork, and friendliness in your company to develop team spirit. Additionally, incorporating reward programs and recognizing achievements with corporate trophies or gamification can help to strengthen team spirit and motivate employees towards their shared goals. When people work together, face challenges, and celebrate wins that help resolve complex tasks, their team spirit increases.
As the team spirit of your software development professionals increases, their creativity also heightens, and they are able to create superb products for your customers. You can call this an effect of Napoleon’s Mastermind formula.
What are the benefits of a strong software team culture?
According to McKinsey and Company’s Insights on how software excellence fuels business performance, software teams with access to the right tools, culture, talent management, and product management are generally more productive and innovative. Plus, they can help a company grow faster.
To be more specific, below are some benefits of breeding the right culture among your software development team:
1. A more collaborative team
With the right culture entrenched in your software team, members collaborate more efficiently. They share information and ideas freely, respect each other’s opinions, and are more likely to help each other out when difficult problems arise.
This culture helps ensure that all hands are on deck and fully cooperate to develop helpful products for your customers. Also, a collaborative team will develop an attitude to find the best solution for a software development project rather than anything that seemingly works.
2. Better products
The ultimate goal for any development team is to create helpful, high-quality software products. The right culture will foster brainstorming, testing, experimentation, and teamwork on every software development project.
All your team members will be fully invested in the project and will give their best to ensure the final software is worth the process. Additionally, if an agile mindset is well entrenched, your software team will use the agile methodology to develop software solutions better suited to your customers.
3. Better talent
A flexible culture that permits software developers to work remotely will give you access to a pool of highly-talented offshore developers that can make a difference in your company.
The same is true if you’re looking for on-site developers to add to your team. Glassdoor’s survey that polled more than 5,000 employees from the US, France, the UK, and Germany revealed some interesting facts:
- 77 percent would consider a company’s culture before seeking a job there.
- 56 percent said workplace culture was more important than salary for job satisfaction.
- 73 percent claimed they would not apply to a company unless its values align with their personal values.
4. Higher employee retention
A Robert Walters-led research showed that 73 percent of employees resigned from an organisation because they didn’t like the company’s culture. The same study also revealed that 67 percent felt misled about the company’s culture during the onboarding process.
A software team’s culture affects how developers behave at work. Generally, software developers are willing to stay in a company where the culture encourages every team member to participate and contribute, making them feel needed and significant in the company’s software development process.
5. Greater productivity and higher ROIs
Companies with a positive culture tend to be more successful. Investing in the right culture, tools, knowledge, and management for your software teams can boost their productivity, helping them develop more products in less time.
Consider this practical scenario at the US IRS management team. Amin Qazi, Technical Advisor at the Department of Treasury IRS said,
“When I told management that we could release 20 in a month, I heard ‘why would we do that? We have only one release a year.’ I had to remind myself that moving to DevOps is a big cultural shift.”
The culture a company upholds significantly affects the software development team’s productivity positively or negatively. In Amin’s case, he was trying to improve the output from one release a year to 20 in a month, but he acknowledges that it will require a cultural shift.
A more positive culture boosts productivity. The more productive your software team is, the more high-quality products they can develop within a shorter time, helping you to boost your company’s ROI.
Zartis can integrate the right software culture into your engineering team or help you build one from scratch.
Do you want to build a software team culture that helps you achieve your goals? Zartis is a trusted engineering partner with over a decade of experience helping clients build high-performing software teams.
With the help of our combined expert knowledge of the software industry, we can help integrate the right culture into your software development team. Also, we can build a highly-cultured software team for you from scratch.
Please contact us to learn how we can help make your software development journey more productive!