In 1988 Westrum introduced the world to his insights in a paper titled, “Organizational and interorganizational thought” which he presented to the World Bank conference on Systems Safety. 3 ways to make monitoring IoT devices easier The SHI Hub Built In is the online community for startups and tech companies. Cultivating a culture of technical innovation can help companies weather the recession and continue to thrive.

Being patient with the process will lead to better decisions, better work environments, and better software. Most of our products required complex calculations to determine how much money to invoice to clients of our customer or to pay out to flex workers. Products also had to conform to regulations set out by law and unions. Having a large battery of automated tests made it easier to refactor or change these calculations. If we didn’t have any, we would start with high-level calculations to verify if the output was what we would expect based on the input and the calculations.

Is there such a thing as a “bad” software engineering company culture?

When you hear, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” push back. Give people the chance to learn and experiment and they’ll reward you with the impossible. A Daily Scrum taking place , a developer pairing up with a designer , creating Dedicated Software Development Teams the Product Backlog together and knowledge-sharing sessions and retrospectives taking place. The new cavernous spaces encourage precisely what Steve Jobs considered essential for Pixar—creativity, communication, and collaboration.

When we deployed a breaking bug or when the software crashed,ourphones would ring. This included products that were in active use 24 hours a day. We’ve spent several nights debugging breaking issues on production. This incentivized the teams to test thoroughly before deploying. But it also encouraged us to automate as much as possible, making it easy to deploy a hotfix. Way back in 2003, I set up the first continuous integration server at NowOnline.

Obviously, the release rate was low for this product. But once automated, a new build was released every Sprint . This drive to automate, and refactor codebases to allow it, was always championed by Development Teams. The second falls under the expectation of the business. To give employees access to the tools and technologies they need to do their job, and let them work in a way that works best for them to be more efficient.

Maybe the manager praises team members who deliver on schedule, even if their products are riddled with defects. Such incongruent actions can harm your efforts to grow a healthy culture. So a healthy culture staffs projects with a team of people who have all the necessary skills to get the job done well. A personal commitment by each developer to create high-quality products by applying effective software engineering practices. In an unhealthy culture, people don’t trust each other or their managers.

A software development outsourcer – who understands the software development culture – may be just the kind of business partner you need. Advanced technology companies effectively employ goal-setting techniques to get the most from their development processes. A healthy engineering culture lets you focus on your objectives and key results and achieve better outcomes in those domains.

Some weeks are all new learnings, cool languages, and completed stories. Other weeks are unforeseen changes, unrealistic deadlines, and fixing COBOL. No mansplaining or scoffing at “bad” code or laughing at n00bs. Make your process highlight the bottlenecks (i.e., limit WIP). Encourage team members to present errors and failures and talk about how to fix them. This is a much less annoying way of saying, “Think outside the box.” Look for new solutions to old problems.

Tips for Maintaining an Innovation-First Tech Team

Now that you realize what your company culture should look like, a great start would be to prioritize hiring candidates who represent a good culture fit. As Matt Heller states, it is imperative that your entire company lives, breathes, Coding for kids we support schools, children and young people and walks your culture—so make sure it reflects values all employees can resonate with. However, while this can be motivating to employees, it is perhaps not the best approach if you value collaboration and cross-departmental teamwork.

The founder of NowOnline —Thiery Ketz— played a pivotal and enabling role here, valuing personal connections, empathy and the social aspects of work. Starting out with a strong focus on website development, I built my first site for them in 2002, first as a freelancer later as an employee. In 2010 we started a second location in Utrecht that focused on developing HR-related & mission-critical software for brands of our largest customer . We worked with .NET (first VB, later C#) from the very start. Initially with one Scrum Team, later with three, I doubled as a developer and Scrum Master. This branch ofNowOnlinelater transitioned intoHROffice.

software development culture

Take enough time to identify your company goals and develop a unique mission statement to achieve your objectives. But if you want to take it a step further and really drive that strong engineering culture home — or to work, so to speak — then do code reviews. Strong leadership is equally important in strong engineering culture. People in a healthy culture are realistic about what they can achieve and know exactly what their role involves. They rely on data from previous experience to make sensible choices and commitments to other team members. They prefer to under-commit and over-deliver; their organization is crucial for the company’s success.

People trained each other in how to make good espressos and cappuccinos, often gathering around the bar to chat about work and other things. With the bar being close to the entrance, visitors joined the social chat upon arrival. Every Friday, most of the team stayed around for drinks and snacks at the bar.

I Feel Stuck as a Staff Engineer, Wanting to Move Into an EM Role – Ask the EM

Pair programming is stimulated and not considered a waste of time. For example, it stimulates collaboration, shared understanding, and improves the quality of the code. In my experience, by doing pair programming you deliver better products even faster because you’ve got less re-work or bug fixing afterward. The idea that culture is important to an organization’s success isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Legendary CEO and investor Ben Horowitz just published a whole book about how culture created success for everyone from Ghengis Khan’s army to Shaka Senghor’s prison gang.

software development culture

A strong engineering culture is the result of people working together with a shared purpose and vision for the future. But many things need to happen for everything to fall into place. Discussing and setting shared principles, values, and attitudes is important to align the team members. It helps decision-making, facilitates consistency, and allows an organization to achieve its goals. So, healthy cultures succeed with teams of people who have all the necessary skills to get the job well done. Although each team is concerned with a specific aspect of the company’s business, collaboration is common because their culture encourages it.

Avoid metrics that focus on utilization and efficiency. They encourage local optimization, are easy to manipulate and are often used to control individuals. It’s about building valuable software for the customer, using the least amount of time.


Thus, they support, celebrate, and reward personal successes. People love to work in an environment where they feel valued and are allowed to express themselves in ways that bring value to the organization. Whereas many tech firms experience a high level of employee turnover, Google, not so much. This is only one of the many scenarios that shows a lack of strong software company culture. They take care of their own “HR Process” by given each other feedback, provide tips for personal growth opportunities.

In addition, talented software developers on your payroll are recruiting targets for a broad base of companies. Software developers orient themselves to categories of technology (Java, mobile development, etc.), not the business vertical in which they currently work. I think these principles are a fine outline of the sinews of healthy software culture. At Method, we strive to keep our teams healthy, challenged, and happy and principles like these help that focus.

I addressed these topics long before developers used GitHub, as in my 1996 book Creating a Software Engineering Culture. We provide companies with senior tech talent and product development expertise to build world-class software. Then, set up mechanisms that promote their implementation. The values and mechanisms you choose should be unique to your team and reflect their ideals.

A team-led process recognizes that your engineers are the best ones to identify the path to get there. Your team’s ability to innovate relies heavily on being in a state of optimal challenge but not burning out. With the team-led approach, your employees can find and maintain this balance for themselves. Well, innovation is necessary to provide the most value to users, responding to their latest pain points and staying ahead of the competition. At a time of economic uncertainty, tech companies may pump the brakes on experimentation and the conditions needed to achieve it in favor of cutting costs and maintaining the status quo.

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