Yes, the headline is a bold statement, but it’s one of those contradictions that we’re immensely proud of. Contrary to popular belief – and the way most software development companies operate – we found that teams loaded with members experienced in specific technologies weren’t necessarily the top performers. On the flip side, teams boasting diverse profiles and a broader skill set delivered better results and collaborated more effectively with clients. Seamless in execution, with higher delivery rates and a deeper understanding of each project’s needs, these teams are the ones that defy norms and exceed expectations.
So, what’s the secret sauce behind our approach? No one would ask Messi or Ronaldo to quit playing soccer, just as no tech company would ask two of its top developers to stop writing code. Yet, we chose to venture down a unique and “rebellious” path, driven by our core belief: technical skills are just a fraction of what makes software development truly exceptional.
The same goes for soccer: the most successful teams aren’t just made up of 1 or 2 superstars while the rest watch from the sidelines. To win the game, you need a well-trained, cohesive team where each player’s contribution leads to a goal. Since you can’t win matches based on individual prowess alone, our counterintuitive approach starts to make sense – turning out to be a great choice rather than mere rhetoric.
Culture ambassadors (and more)
Continuing with our logic, we learned that having the most sophisticated code is not the most relevant thing as most people think it is. That’s how two of our lead programmers stopped doing exclusively what they did best: coding (knowing that our offer was going to be something much larger and multiplying 😎).
We transformed them into two new key profiles for the company: the Culture Development Managers (CDMs). This is a role that’s not widely explored in the market that works horizontally within a team and aids in the personal and professional growth of the developers, transforming the teams into true dedicated teams of their projects.
In this regard, CDMs carry a big responsibility: transmitting Digbang’s culture to our teams, building synergy, and autonomy. An important point: it’s not that their technical skills aren’t necessary, but we realized that their experience and their problem-solving abilities could boost growth among their peers, transforming them into great leaders.
God save our cultural pillars
The CDM conducts an initial evaluation of the team members to align them with four cultural pillars that guide work at Digbang:
- Product: Developing customer-centric products, emphasizing the delivery of value and impact in all decisions made. Working towards achieving the best results, taking into account design and user experience.
- Communication: Encouraging the development of an inclusive, healthy, and productive work environment with open and participatory communication.
- Processes: Striving to be effective at all levels of the organization, with responsibility and commitment.
- Technology: From technology, achieving not just meeting, but exceeding the expectations of clients, users, and inheritors of the code.
This is how the CDM works – for a certain amount of time – each of these axes with the developer and their Project Manager to enhance them and see their evolution; as well as identifying and promoting potential team leaders.
Impact that gets results
The transition, of course, was not without challenges. The mindset shift from a lead developer to a CDM involves getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Basically, it means letting others fill the spaces that they once occupied and taking a step back so others can step forward. But, it also means having the vision to identify the team’s strengths and opportunities, considering all variables holistically, and pushing them towards new challenges.
Some highlights of this process with developers were the ability to overcome the fear of experimenting, the skill to propose new features that the client didn’t think of, the development of strong ownership towards the product, and, in some cases, the transformation of a team member aligned with the work culture into a leader within their group. These are just some examples of the potential that CDMs have as culture ambassadors.
By taking on this role, then, our two lead programmers have helped other developers deliver greater value to each project while becoming even better leaders themselves and building stronger teams prepared to face any challenge that comes their way.