The mantra of success in today’s hyper-competitive and tech-neutral age is offering unmatched value, topped up by incredible experience, to customers. With the focus on the end product, most enterprises overlook the fact that the software development team are often the front lines in delivering superior service. The software developing a glitch when an urgent work is pending, searching in vain for an essential feature overlooked by the development team, a convoluted process to achieve a simple thing are an all-too-common experience which frustrates a customer or the end user of the software.
Often such drawbacks are not because of any deep-rooted incompetency or incapability, but a result of lack of focus, or not paying attention to development process it deserves. The name of the game in keeping software developers happy, engaged and productive, all factors which have a proven correlation with end customer satisfaction.
Facilitate the Developer
The basic requirement to make developers happy is facilitating them. It is innate human nature that creativity and mentally intensive tasks such as writing quality code thrive only in an environment of freedom, where one can express their suggestions without fear of repercussions.
An open and transparent culture, with free flow of information, and without data silos is the basic and essential requirement.
Developers need to be empowered to take their own decisions, without having to run to their project manager for every small thing. Allowing developers to engage with the customer or end users directly, and freedom to make any changes that do not alter the scope of the project, goes a long way in empowering them and making them happy.
Side by side with creativity, human beings need very high levels of precision, focus and concentration to be able to write quality code. They require a comfortable atmosphere, with ready access to resources required to do their job well.
Another essential requirement, almost indispensable, is flex-time, and freedom to work from home. Creativity and inspiration never follow a 8 to 5 schedule.
Empowerment often creates a level playing field, allowing small startups to compete effectively with large behemoths, where the salary may be higher, but where organizational morass has set in, with an entrenched bureaucracy stifling creativity and freedom. There, developers may have to spend more time in paperwork, playing by the “rules of the game,” or worse, pampering egos, than do what they are meant to do – writing high-quality code.
Lucrative salaries attract top talent, but perks ranging from on-site massages to unlimited coffee breaks, the ability to work from home, and more are the real motivating factors that attract top talent. The trick lies in understanding what developers want and design the perks likewise. HR plays a crucial role in this dimension, by talking to developers, and understanding what motivates them, especially during the recruitment stage. Flexibility, topped up by innovation in the delivery of perks and other benefits help the enterprise scale new heights in job satisfaction. Happy, engaged software developers produce high-quality results, which impacts everyone else involved in the development, delivery, marketing and sales of the product.
Forge a Shared Culture
The time-honored management concept of “hire for a fit” has never been more relevant than now. Competency aside, what matters above everything else is a cultural and emotional fit or shared values. Shared values, in essence, mean the company and the employee being on the same page with regards to striving to delight the customer, and seeking excellence in whatever work is done. On the software development front, this translates to the engaging the end user enthusiastically from the start to finish, resolving any questions and issues with calm professionalism. A solid project management system, complete with a collaborative platform, helps.
Create a Learning Organization
Peter Senge, the management guru advocates creates a “learning organization,” where the workforce continuously enhances their capabilities and keeps themselves relevant. From the individual, it requires inculcation of the attitude “Learning is a journey that has no end,” and the enterprise has to play the role of a facilitator, both by providing learning opportunities and forging a culture that encourages and value learning. Developers especially like playing with flashy new technologies. A competent developer, confident of his or her knowledge, is sure to add immense value to the end customer.
Forge a Clear Career Path
A brilliant artist or a top developer needn’t necessarily be a good manager / a leader. A well-deserved promotion up the corporate ladder may actually do more harm than good, both for the individual, who find his expression of creativity stifled and for the enterprise, who is stuck with a bad manager. The onus is on the enterprise to forge a career plan for their power-employees, with lateral promotions, or flexibility to continue the same job with a higher position if the situation so requires.
The stakes are high. The problem with an inferior product rarely ends with dissatisfied customers. In today’s hyper-connected age marked by the dominance of social media, customers can and do vent their feelings, resulted in a spiraling effect of bad image and lost potential customers.
The scramble for top talent has made developers, a pampered lot. A software developer who is even just a little bit better than the competition has the potential to generate a result that will bring exponential non-linear returns on the investment. Just as in professional sports, even a one percent advantage makes a big different in the end result. However, enterprises needn’t necessarily enter the talent rat-race. They can just as well enter into a partnership with us, who have a ready team of highly intuitive and professional app developers, ready to do your bidding. We have a track record of delivering several highly customized and dynamic mobility and other solutions to customers across the globe, cutting across industries and sectors.
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