Software Development has been an intrinsic part of our lives for several decades. It's hard to imagine a world without computers or smartphones and their immediacy. But what shapes software development? And how has software development shaped us?
In this article, we'll look at how company culture impacts software development. Further, we'll review how software development impacts society. We'll look at the concept of company culture, its relevance, and how dev teams can improve it. Then, we'll go over software development's benefits and drawbacks. Are you ready for it?
Company Culture in Software Development
We will start by focusing on how culture affects software development. Also, we'll see the benefits of a healthy company culture. But first, what exactly is company culture?
What does Culture mean in Software Development?
In this context, culture is a company's set of values, beliefs, behaviors, and goals. It dictates how software development team members communicate and work together. Company or organizational culture can get established by design. Yet, it might be just how things work with no actual planning by management.
Many aspects make up corporate culture. Some of them enclose work environment, leadership style, and ethics. There are also minor aspects, from business hours and remote work policies to hiring processes and employee benefits.
But, it's not only about the perks but leadership and the work environment. According to Ben Horowitz, it has more to do with how people in the company behave. Plus, it includes what they do if lacking direction and how the company does general things. Moreover, a lot of factors can affect organizational culture. These include national culture and traditions and company size and industry. Plus, international trade and economic trends are worth noticing.
How does Company Culture impact Software Teams?
As we've seen, every company has its own culture, whether they are aware of it or not. So what impact does this culture have on software development? The effect of organizational culture can be for the worst or the better. Also, it can have profound consequences on the success of your business. Below we'll see five areas that can hugely affect company culture.
A healthy company culture will lead more candidates your way. Given the existing developer shortage, this is crucial for any software development business. What will make potential candidates want to work for you? If they hear good things about your work environment! Seeing they will have support and freedom in the workplace also helps. What will make it difficult for you to find qualified and experienced developers? If your company has a reputation for its hostile and competitive environment. In fact, 87% of the US workforce considers company culture relevant when applying for a job. Applicants often check a company's social media and review sites to see their culture.
Once you hire the right candidate, culture can make or break the onboarding process. Onboarding is crucial for new employees to become active in your organization. During orientation, your new talent will learn about the company's values and goals. This approach sets the tone for how employees will work in the company. Motivated and engaged employees are vital to the success of your business. Thus, it's essential to highlight your company culture during onboarding.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, toxic culture was a leading reason people left their jobs. So, if you have a low employee retention rate, it might be time to look at how the workplace operates. Companies aiming at an adequate work-life balance are more likely to keep employers. Paid time off, flexible hours, and remote work options can support this balance. Moreover, celebrating employees' success will make them feel valued within the team. If your developers feel like they fit in, they will be more satisfied with their work. So they will perform better and are more likely to stick around.
If your team is happy with your culture, it will positively impact the products or services they work on. Encouragement to learn from their colleagues and find room for growth are fundamental. Employees are more likely to work with more efficiency and higher-quality end products. And, as you might know, a better product means higher customer satisfaction and ROI. These insights also translate into business success.
Developers are more likely to tackle challenges in healthy environments. A company fostering teamwork and community sense lets members rely on one another. When teams share responsibility, there will be less individual frustration. Not to mention more chances of solving problems more effectively and quickly.
How to Promote a Good Culture in Software Development?
Now that we've discussed why you should focus on organizational culture, let's look at the how. Here are seven things you can do to create a healthy work environment:
1. Take your Time. Make time to make new developers feel welcome and valued. Small details can go a long way! These include setting up a workstation and briefing your team about the new member. It can also be as simple as a first-day lunch with the team.
2. Boost Communications. New team members should feel free to approach management with questions and issues. Let them know your door is always open, and make time in your schedule for them.
3. Keep it Consistent. The same company culture should apply to all employees in your organization. Moreover, you should ensure proper communication of it across the company.
4. Offer Mentorships. Training, coaching, and mentorships can help your business grow and those who make it up. This policy gives developers a chance to keep working on their skills. Not to mention they can then apply these to your projects. So, don't hesitate to offer continuous coaching!
5. Enhance Growth. Your team should clearly know any career progression opportunities. It would be best if you sat down with them as soon as they joined the team to discuss them.
6. Lean on New Techs. The software industry is ever-changing, and new tools pop up daily. Keeping up is crucial for your business and attracting and retaining employees.
7. Foster Communities. Communities of Practice, or CoPs, reunite people with similar interests. Members can be working on different projects but still have common interests. CoPs foster knowledge and experience sharing throughout your company. It also helps developers feel more connected.
Software Development’s Impact on Society
As we've mentioned, Software Development is all around us, and it's hard to imagine our lives without it. But how do the different apps, programs, and systems affect our lives and the world? We'll now discuss the positive impact of software development. Then, we'll move on to the less savory aspects of it.
What are Software Development's Inputs?
Software development has brought about many breakthroughs. Can you remember life before instant messaging or online streaming? Here are seven areas where software has changed our culture and society for the better.
Video calls and instant messaging apps have revolutionized the way we communicate. They have also made it easy to catch up with friends and family living abroad. They have even facilitated remote working and keep companies with international offices connected.
2. Data Storage
Data is one of our greatest assets. It can make informed decisions in virtually any area or industry. It also helps in problem-solving and understanding the world around us. Software development has made it possible to store vast amounts of data and analyze it in the blink of an eye.
Development can also help save our planet. Nowadays, some software can create predictive anti-poaching practices. Other advances include tracking air quality, improving weather forecasting, and increasing agricultural production.
Software developers have created outstanding programs for hospitals. What's more, these have helped save thousands upon thousands of lives. We can also thank them for telemedicine and digital health records. Other examples of healthcare software are health data analysis and remote patient monitoring.
The printing press was undoubtedly the most significant development in knowledge democratization. But computers and the internet have made all knowledge available to almost everyone.
Thanks to web accessibility guidelines, people with disabilities can access software benefits. Some examples of accessibility software include closed-captioning, voice recognition, and automatic screen readers.
Tech advances have also brought us a whole new assortment of entertainment options. YouTube, Spotify, and Patreon are only some platforms offering online content. The list also includes online streaming platforms like Twitch and video games.
What are the Downsides of Software Development?
Software Development has done a lot for us, but not without its faults. Here are some examples of software’s negative impact on society.
1. Security. Software solutions have their fair share of harmful counterparts. You might think of spam as pretty innocuous. But there is also phishing, spyware, and identity theft.
2. Weapons. Weapons have also benefited from Software Development. We now have smart bombs, missiles, drones, and robotic weapon systems.
3. Pollution. Although software can help improve environmental conditions, it has also caused much damage. The software runs on computer systems that produce carbon dioxide and consume energy. As a result, every app or program leaves an environmental footprint.
Software development has had a tremendous impact on our lives and culture. In turn, organizational culture impacts the software development process. We hope this article has given you some food for thought! Not only on the importance of healthy company culture. But also on the positive and negative impact of software development worldwide.