Our values matter

I like to think of Devbridge values as a compass. Do your short- and long-term actions align with our values? If they do, then you’re likely to succeed at Devbridge, and the products you build here will have a meaningful impact on the world.

While we appreciate the art of a good party (sometimes to a fault—one of our values is having fun), we also continually march against mediocrity. It’s not an easy or pleasant trek, but the view from that summit is fantastic. Although we’re a close and friendly group, we also have the edge that is necessary to bear the burden of a tough engagement. Ask any team that has worked on one of our Canadian bank projects, and they’ll tell you—it’s brutal at times, but they are stronger and more competent professionals as a result.

For me, these values go above and beyond our work. I apply them as a behavioral framework for everything I do—and that's what makes them so sticky and powerful. These values drive great business outcomes and, in large part, are why our clients grow to trust us over time and treasure the culture we’ve built.

While the values as they are written today are the result of an exercise with the team, the underlying behavior is as old as Devbridge itself. They’re based on our understanding of what is just and fair to the client and to our peers. It’s what running a good business means to us. These values are ingrained not just in our behavior but also in our goals, our communication style, and where we invest our energy.

Make great things

Build products that are fast, effortless to use, and aesthetically pleasing. Make things meaningful and worthy of your time.

You spend the majority of your week at work, so you should be proud of the things you produce there. In other words, we all want the products we release to matter. What constitutes a product being good varies from one engagement to another, but as a team of professionals, we should evaluate whether the following criteria are being met: if

  • The product creates economic and/or utility value for the customer.
  • The product performs in terms of sheer speed and responsiveness.
  • The product is intuitive and does not require training.
  • The product scales to adapt to the changing needs of the business.

We often debate what makes a product great. Our portfolio spans B2B and B2C applications—some small and elegant, others gigantic with multiple fire-breathing heads. In some instances, we have creative freedom; in others, we are focused on a very specific material outcome. Greatness depends on the individual, but it also should be viewed in the context of the organization.

Seek mastery

Reject mediocrity. Pursue perfection, depth of knowledge, and effectiveness. Prepare for this journey to take a lifetime.

One of the reasons we founded Devbridge was our frustration with the corporate world. Systems, applications, and websites created at the time (and often to this day) were poorly designed, slow to respond, and gave little consideration to the user. “Seeking mastery” has two sides.

  • Individual growth: Learning and growth should be continuous throughout our lifetimes, and we should have a keen yet hungry mind. Perfection is not the goal, but the pursuit of perfection is.
  • Evolution of the industry: Ours is a relatively young industry that has been changing and growing at a dramatic speed. A good example is the historic adoption of new technologies. Telephones took thirty-nine years to achieve market maturity, the personal computer fourteen, smartphones only two and a half! The emergence of new platforms, capabilities, and methodologies changes what we do, and we need to retool and relearn.

Embrace transparency

Be authentic, be yourself. Be transparent with your intentions, your successes, and your failures. Do honest work.

Here’s the thing about transparency—no one else in our industry is practicing it. From agencies to consulting companies to product shops, everyone tries to obfuscate and “black box” their inner workings to hide their mistakes.

From the day we started Devbridge, we’ve run the company as an open book—from internal communication about financial metrics to communication with our clients about the progress of their engagements. Good or bad news, it gets equal airtime. The invoices we send have every single time entry logged, showing ALL the work that was performed in the sprint.

This level of transparency is critical to building trust, and in our line of work, that is worth more than the rates we charge. Trust guarantees us the capacity to try things, fail, and try again. If the client trusts us, then our discussions are more open, our contracts are more flexible, and our relationships blossom.

Here are a few ways we embody transparency:

  • The Devbridge.TV application openly showcases our goals, utilization, actual revenue, clients, projects, etc.
  • We use sprint reports to communicate actual project status with the client.
  • Our “state of the union” meeting with the client reports on the failures and successes of the relationship.
  • We use PowerUp to show our clients daily details of our activity, time entries, etc.
  • We facilitate an annual company retrospective where we openly collect ideas, comments, and feedback on what works well, what needs to improve, and what we need to introduce.
  • We facilitate an open forum in each office every month where colleagues can submit anonymous feedback and ideas that can be addressed without having to wait for the annual company retro.
  • We have an open-door policy where employees are invited to schedule one-on-one time with anyone on the leadership team.

We’re not perfect. We’re in an industry where, globally, males outnumber females and diversity is generally lacking. In business, communication about inclusion and diversity often takes a backseat to revenue goals. We recognize there’s plenty of work to do in our industry and at our company. We’re committed to making strides and getting better.

Take ownership

Don’t be afraid to speak up and stand for what you think is true. Success depends on all of us working collectively to make great things.

Ownership means going above and beyond what would usually be expected from you. Even though we work as a team, each individual carries immense influence—from how we anticipate challenges to how we react to and resolve them.

One common scenario we deal with is the involvement of a third party in anything that we ship. Sometimes we might rely on a contractor to provide APIs, other times it could be an internal team working on a module we depend on. There are times when our success depends on someone slower and less engaged than we are. How can you anticipate their failure and preemptively work to lower the risk—or even better, make them successful? In many projects, the answer is to supplement a client’s team with our own people. That’s taking ownership beyond our own delivery.

If you see a behavior you don’t approve of, say something. Leaders don’t need a title to inspire people or set an example. If you see a fellow teammate leave a dirty cup in the sink, call them out on it and then show them how to work that sponge.

Deliver results

Activity without progress is worthless. Strive to make your work measurable, meaningful, and impactful for the goals of the client.

This one is a great “gut check” value. Is what I am doing actually creating results? Are we just spinning wheels, or are we actually moving toward our objective? This value encapsulates all other values in terms of impact—if we don’t deliver results for the client, it simply doesn’t matter how transparent or masterful we are. More simply—ship the software. The longer it sits on the shelf, the harder it will be to demonstrate value. The longer it is delayed, the less relevant to the original needs.

Have fun

Enjoy solving complex challenges and celebrating success together with a like-minded team of talented and passionate professionals.

There’s something inherently special about overcoming obstacles together, creating value out of nothing, building, launching, growing . . . We strive to instill this value in all teams to attract and retain the best while allowing them to grow.

Our definition of fun extends beyond our work. We’re a growing tribe whose relationships extend outside office walls, beyond borders, and across oceans. While Devbridge provides us with a shared goal, we become more prosperous because of the relationships we develop. That’s what having fun is all about.

Yes, we have our big events such as Summer Camp and Kickoff. There have been times where we had a little too much fun. But personally, I believe it’s the smallest behavioral examples that prove this value is alive and thriving. The camaraderie at our regular Friday feasts together is evident throughout the week. We sit together, break bread, play games, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

The Secret Source by Aurimas Adomavicius

About the author

Aurimas Adomavicius is the president and co-founder of Devbridge. When not in the trenches working with clients, Aurimas is an active speaker and writer on product design and engineering best practices.

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