Completely random stream of thoughts about the software business, from the perspective of an executive.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
In my last post, I introduced Challaboration as a core team value. A second
core value is learning. Within this are two elements: being
adaptable and courage.
technology, business environments all change.
A person (and by extension, a team) will have limited success solving
new problems only using past solutions.
If you are unwilling to adapt and don't have the courage to find help from others, you will not expand your set of
tools to solve problems.
When you explore new
approaches and tools, you learn. For
example, around 2011, my company made a reasoned decision to shift some of its
product stack from .NET to Java. Quite a
bit of our team (who we hired as .NET
developers) were faced with a choice: continue as .NET experts or become
Every developer made the transition.
It would have been
easy to leave. After all .NET is the
dominate programming platform in Nashville. Because they chose to adapt, they
expanded their toolkit (learning a new language and front end technology). It was a tough road. In the beginning, we
wrote a lot of C# code masquerading as Java.
Over time, the team grew into first-class Java developers.
By adapting, the
developers learned a valuable lesson:
Their excellence is based on their critical thinking and design skills,
not language competency. More
not to define
themselves by the technologies they know.
Our team is a mix of
veteran and junior developers. We have
experienced healthcare providers and seasoned QA who have never provided direct
patient care. You would think the knowledge
flows from the "older" to "younger" generation. That is far from the case. Junior developers show veterans how some of
the new technology stack functions. In
turn, veterans share hard-fought learnings from years of production software.
What our team has in
common is not knowledge or skill level.
It is their courage to say, "I need help" or "I don't
know." This simple acknowledgement
creates the possibility for learning.
The dynamics of
healthcare IT demand constant learning. A willingness to adapt and the courage
to ask for help creates an environment where everyone learns from each
other. As a team, we adapt to changing
demands and have the courage to rely on each other to learn how to solve
problems. In other words, we win and lose as a team.