Internal Communities – Overcoming hurdles together

People often find it incredibly difficult to admit when things go wrong. Of course this is a sweeping generalisation, but I have found from previous experiences that those in the technology industry often have a strong sense of how “things” should be done. This often means that acknowledging a mistake feels like a failure, with individuals taking it personally. In other words, we do not want to believe we are wrong and we definitely do not want to feel we failed and appear incompetent.

Working as a tester at Amido, a technology agnostic company, I have a constant desire to learn and upskill in order to work on a wide variety of projects. Unlike C#, Java or JavaScript engineers, we are not necessarily specialised in any particular programming language or platform. Depending on the assigned project, Amido testers need to be adaptable enough to pick up the required technology. For me, this is one of the greatest attractions to work here, but also occasionally opens me up to self-evaluation – ‘am I keeping up with this? Am I doing a good job?’ Especially, when my proposed idea or solution is not the route that is chosen in the end.

So how can we tackle this situation? Just admit that you don’t know everything. There is a reason we work in teams, sometimes an alternative option is the better one. Be curious, ask others why it is better and learn from this. So often it is too easy to stay hung up on your own suggestion rather than working as part of a supportive environment to reach the best solution for the project and team.

Sprint retrospectives allow a project delivery team the opportunity to share their experiences of the project, to discuss what went well, what didn’t and how the team can improve. At Amido we recognise that a fortnightly catch up may not be the best environment for a constructive discussion, especially after a particularly intensive sprint. As a result there are several, additional internal community events that complement the culture of the organisation and open up alternative avenues in which employees can voice their opinions.

Internal community events at Amido:

• Amido company meeting
• Brown bag session
• Internal meetups

In the company meetings a company status, vision and plan are shared. The brown-bag sessions provide staff members with an opportunity to share their expertise or demonstrate a newly acquired skill. Whilst internal meetups allow us a place to discuss role-specific matters. I believe events like these have contributed to building a positive and safe environment for discussions and inquiries. Not only this, through these events I have identified my colleagues’ unique strengths and skill sets, meaning I now know who is best to approach and who to ask for help for any given subject.

As I said before, we’re a stubborn lot in the technology industry, finding it difficult to admit when our suggestions aren’t necessarily always the best solution. I believe by providing safe environments in which discussions can be had and where ideas can be batted around without feeling like a failure if yours isn’t taken up, is immensely valuable. It allows individuals greater opportunities for personal growth.

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