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Rethinking the hierarchy of a development team

4 minutes read - Technology
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Team sitting down

In the world of development, there is a traditional belief in a hierarchy that places developers, the product owner, and the customer in distinct and often siloed roles. This structure implies that developers are accountable to the product owner, and the product owner is accountable to the customer.

But is this the most effective way to succeed? At Nexus, we dare to question.

Team redefinition

First and foremost, it is important to recognize that the concept of a team in a project goes far beyond the traditional framework limited to the trio of developer, product owner, and designer. The more classic view of the team leads to siloed work, where everyone stays in their own corner. Communication becomes a scattered puzzle, resulting in reduced participation, idea sharing, and creativity. The result? A project that teeters on the brink of chaos, with stakeholders seemingly working against each other.

In reality, the team is much broader and more diverse. It includes the client, users, designers, developers, product owners, and every other collaborator involved in the process. It is this expanded view of the team that allows us to begin to deconstruct the traditional hierarchy based on “who owes what to whom.

Okay, we still owe each other…

In this expanded and harmonized team, if people owe each other anything, it’s the success of the project. This means that each member, as an essential element of the whole, shares the responsibility for success. In this way, we continue to deconstruct the hierarchy and make everyone feel on the same level with the same goal.

How do we deconstruct hierarchy?

Through active and engaged participation

Each team member participates fully in the project. This includes not only doing their part, but also investing in the overall success of the project by suggesting ideas, participating in discussions, and being proactive.

  • For example: Rather than waiting for instructions, both the designer and developers suggested unexpected features throughout the project, resulting in significant time savings for users.
Open and constructive collaboration

Collaboration goes beyond traditional teamwork. It involves a genuine willingness to listen, share knowledge, and work together to solve problems. By helping each other, the best solutions can be found.

  • An example: Faced with a performance problem caused by a design choice, the developer and the designer brainstormed together to come up with a solution that would maintain the desired aesthetic while also solving the speed problem.
Trusting other team members

Mutual trust allows the team to focus on success. There is a genuine belief in the competence and integrity of each team member, with the conviction that everyone is working for the good of the project.

  • Example: The client trusts the other team members so much that they can walk away without stress during a critical moment at the end of the project.
Transparent communication

To build trust and ensure that every team member is on the same page, transparency is critical. This includes clear and direct communication where important information is shared openly to avoid misunderstandings and oversights.

  • For example: A developer who notices a serious bug in the code doesn’t hesitate to communicate it immediately, preventing future problems.
Demonstrate understanding

When faced with a problem or complex situation, it is important to show empathy and support for other team members. Understanding each other’s perspectives and difficulties truly helps create a supportive work environment and facilitates the discovery of innovative and effective solutions.

  • Example: Faced with a request for a seemingly odd feature, all team members show understanding and empathy, leading to an open discussion about the reasons behind the request. In the end, it makes a lot of sense!
Valuing ideas

Every idea, regardless of where it comes from, is valuable. Encouraging everyone’s contribution stimulates creativity and engagement. It is a catalyst for success.

  • Example: After four hours in a war room to fix a major bug, a non-technical user suggests a seemingly simple idea. It gets implemented, it works, and there you go!

Let’s participate in change, together

The time has come to rethink how we approach how we build and develop teams. By adopting a collaborative approach based on trust, respect, and mutual support, we will not only create successful projects, but also a fulfilling experience for everyone.

By breaking down traditional hierarchical barriers, we create a working environment where

  • Ideas flow freely
  • Creativity is valued
  • Each contribution is recognized as essential to overall success

This creates a level playing field where the team works hand-in-hand toward a common goal. The power to change our work environment is in our hands. At Nexus, we look forward to working together with you, united by a common goal: success!

Contact us today to discuss your development project.

Let us be part of your transformation.

Let’s talk
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