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Jim Collins' “Get the right people on the bus” is as popular a business aphorism as you can find when it comes to sage advice about corporate business success - regardless the product, service, or market.
In the world of software engineering, it is certainly true: get the right people on the bus, get them to show up consistently and do what they do well - it goes a long way towards a company delivering great products and services that delight customers.
At Hack Reactor, we work with many enterprise companies who are going through major software engineer hiring initiatives to fill their engineering buses with great developers. These are efforts to find great people and gain the rewards the marketplace holds for companies that can leverage talented teams to deliver better user experiences, faster solutions, at lesser costs.
But what actually happens once the bus makes the pickup and leaves the stop? Suddenly, individuals find themselves working with other individuals who learned to develop software in a way totally different from them. The organization experiences choppiness at each handoff or point of interaction. Efficiency metrics tumble. Leaders and managers wonder what happened.
Agile to the rescue? Sort of. Yet, a top complaint cited among organizations adopting and scaling Agile practices is “inconsistent processes across teams”. When it comes to software development, there’s got to be a simple way to make this whole thing come together. We’ve found there is. It’s in a new spin on an old classic: training.
1) Training to standardize practices
One of the hallmarks of Hack Reactor’s Enterprise Training programs for software engineering is the preparation of learning objectives that are clearly written and reflect the desired outcome of our clients. In addition to guiding the creation of the right curriculum to meet the learning objectives, this process also makes way for accurate measurement of learning through assessments administered before and after the training.
But beyond the learning “lift” - which is critical, no doubt - are the intangible learning outcomes that we find expressed in the comments of our participants:
“I feel like now we (the team) speak a common language”
“I didn’t realize how critical communication was to success during the training’s project work”
Training programs that allow teams to work on projects in pairs or as small teams (and actually build software) under the watchful care of an expert instructor drives consistency and standardization in a software development team’s approach when the training is over and the team members are back on the day-to-day realities of the current sprint.
2) Maintainable, scalable software is the goal
The coding bootcamp experience is the most efficient way to practice these new ways of thinking, and fail forward faster together through the controlled environment of a training class.
Our expert instructors have decades of enterprise experience under their belts. They know that for many developers just beginning their software developer career journey, decomposing problems is hard. If you’ve never had to build and maintain scalable software, you are new to the thought frameworks that go on top of these problems that make them easier to break down. The coding bootcamp experience is the most efficient way to practice these new ways of thinking, and fail forward faster together through the controlled environment of a training class.
3) Reduced cost of ownership is the outcome
When teams of software developers (who all learned how to code in radically different ways) come together in one company with one common purpose, everyone has gaps in their knowledge. Everyone talks about things slightly differently. All of the documentation in the world can’t overcome the challenges that come from the absence of a common language for teamwork and collaboration.
When teams train together in immersive project-focused programs, the intangibles come to life. In ways that are hard to describe, people start communicating in the ways that best work for them. Inspiration happens, problems get solved, developers get happy.
We’ve watched it time and again in the Hack Reactor coding bootcamps for enterprise. And we know this transformation is a phenomenon that happens in countless other training places too. The priority is still to get the right people on the bus, but the key is to frequently provide opportunities for teams to solve problems together, knowing the intangible benefits play a major role in lowering the total cost of ownership on software products in the long run.