Why hire a development-centric firm?

It’s hard to remember a life before smartphones or to recall a time when we didn’t have the Internet right at our fingertips. Search engines have revolutionized the way that we find new information. Try to imagine being unable to simply Google the answer to any question that pops into your mind, or having to watch the hours tick by during a long wait with just a magazine to keep you company instead of Instagram,Facebook, Pinterest, and more to distract you. We’ve even progressed to a point where meeting up with someone you met on the Internet is no longer considered unusual.  It’s not uncommon to know at least one couple who met online or through a dating app, or to spend your Friday night swiping right. In fact, a recent study by the Nielsen Company reveals that people spend an average of nine hours a day engaging with digital media! Technology, especially our mobile devices, has claimed a central role in everyday life.

Given the increasingly rapid evolution of technology, it’s no surprise that companies have realized the vital importance of implementing new innovations as quickly as possible. Augmented reality, 360-degree video, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence are just a few of the new technologies being introduced and integrated at a fast pace. Businesses that keep up with the times have a distinct advantage over those that don’t. Customers won’t think twice about choosing a company with an exceptional online presence over one with an inadequate website, for example. It just makes sense for companies to hire one or more developers to help them stay up to date on new tech and to compete in today’s market.

Companies of all types have come to realize that the happiness and well-being of their workforce affects the overall profitability of their enterprise. Recent studies have shown that happy employees are productive ones, and that productive employees are profitable ones. It has also been shown that employees who experience high rates of job satisfaction are more likely to be invested in the success of the company, reducing turnover rates. In light of those findings, it just makes sense for businesses, particularly those in the tech sector, to focus on these intangibles. Measures like team building exercises, open-concept office work spaces, flexible work schedules, and office parties celebrating anything from Christmas to Pi Day have been introduced. While these efforts have resulted in generally happier workplaces within the tech industry, the turnover rate among developers remains high in comparison to other groups. Companies are stumped about the reasons why developers continue to leave. Are small efforts like ugly sweater day simply not enough to satisfy them? What is it about the needs and expectations of developers that companies are failing to meet?

Developers are now permanent fixtures in many offices, and although they play an important role for the company, few of their coworkers understand what, exactly, they do. In the eyes of many of their coworkers, developers quietly type away at their computers and then magically produce results. The stereotype is perpetuated by the difficulty that many developers face when trying to explain their process to coworkers who have only a basic understanding of their computers. In contrast, the work done in other departments can be communicated easily. It’s not hard to understand the importance of Accounting when it comes to balancing the books, preparing tax returns, and calculating vacation pay. Marketing gurus can quickly explain upcoming events, promotions, and social media strategies. Nearly everyone understands when project managers chat about key tasks and deadlines. When developers try to take part in conversations, though, attitudes seem to change. Eyes glaze over when there’s talk of responsive websites or SEO. Discussion of Anguler.js and the importance of analytics flies over most peoples’ heads. While a blank look from Joe in Accounting during a lunchtime conversation isn’t a huge deal, it becomes a problem when the same look appears on the face of upper management during an important meeting. This lack of understanding is the top contributing factor to high turnover rates among developers.

It is common for development teams to be led by a manager with a business background but no programming experience. All too often, this decision backfires. These managers may possess impressive business skills, but they lack the appropriate background to provide technical direction for their team. This shortcoming leaves them unable to offer the guidance, feedback, and mentorship that many developers crave. Someone who knows almost nothing about programming cannot jump in to help a struggling developer to meet a tight deadline or guide a junior developer towards helpful resources that will promote learning. A manager who sees all developers as the same won’t know to break down a project and assign tasks to the person with the right skillset. Development is a fast-paced industry, but without knowing that a manager won’t see the benefit of encouraging their developers to practice their skills and to improve their knowledge. When a manager fails to understand the value of a developer’s input and fails to include developers in important meetings, the result is often miscommunication, misunderstanding, and unrealistic expectations and deadlines. These gaps in knowledge about developers and development do more than slow things down: They actively harm both the developers and the company. These types of management shortcomings undermine the faith that developers have in their leadership while simultaneously leading the manager to perceive that their developers are lazy or have an attitude problem. The mishaps that result from this type of management don’t just cause developers to leave; they also put a strain on a company’s relationship with clients due to the expenses of missed deadlines and poor-quality deliverables.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, White Rabbit Digital is an app development company with a focus on augmented reality (AR). Established in 2016 by a group of developers with more than twenty years of combined experience in our respective fields, White Rabbit Digital tackles projects with a development-centric approach. From our junior developers to our senior managers, we all “speak geek.” We believe in the importance of everyone, especially managers, understanding the development process and the needs of individual developers. At White Rabbit Digital we promote a culture of learning and collaboration, and we celebrate individuality. We believe that a development-centric firm is better not only for our developers, but also for our clients. We pride ourselves on producing high quality products that are delivered on time and on budget by developers who know that they are valued as much as their contributions.