Softway’s Techtonic 2018 Softway

A summit of this kind was something Softway took on for the first time and it was a huge success. Techtonic, like the name suggests, comes from the earth’s tectonic plates. A force; a sort of disruption; much in sync to what this summit was set to achieve.

Technology is constantly evolving and it needed more than just a reminder. It was a time of education, inspiration and definitely introspection to chase that path, take on challenges and evolve as T-shaped individuals.

Softway has come a long way, from an IT servicing company to now a consultative company to some of the world’s top companies that offers consulting on change management, branding and strategizing. A company that no longer works for clients but works with clients to bring transformative solutions while creating some really good success stories.

Royally Techtonic

Like our Facebook post says, ‘Who better to share such great learning with and what better place to have it at!’ Softway India was shut down for the day, as we decided to take the day off from work and go sharpen our tools.  Some of the topics and fun we had, are captured here for a quick read:

Techtonic At Softway

 

Sorting hats

The sessions were all designed to make us uncomfortable. We were in a way, introduced to ourselves through the ‘sorting hat’ experience. Our responses to a surprise ‘fun’ survey defined what thinking hats we wore and sorted us into the 5 thinking buckets – capturing a series of a-ha moments!

The power of teamwork

Critical thinking seems to be rare these days. We had a simple and fun exercise that actually proved teamwork outdid individual thinking. A realization that together we can do so much better. Another realization being, an individual alone may not always possess the best of logic, pattern identity and eye for detail which is why a team works best. Complementation. One’s weakness covered by another’s strength.

Curiosity brought our cat friend back 

With search engines thinking for us, we were enlightened on how we’ve limited our thinking, losing out on creativity and not just IQ. We’ve killed creativity because it’s now easier and faster with Google. We were all challenged to pause and think the next time we had a query before mindlessly grabbing our phones.  Lesson: Wisdom is key. We must learn to draw lines even with the best of tools, for the best of results.

Building for good

The chaos that can be caused by each individual’s idea of coding standards can prove costly. What may seem smart from an individual perspective may be a block in achieving the final goal. Which is why, architecture principles must be followed and executed at every stage of development. Creating this common thread of principles will help in improved reliability, quality, stability, uniformity, collaboration and reduced operational blocks.

The 5 architectural principles to keep in mind:

  1. Security is a priority
  2. Automation is your friend
  3. Modularization is a must
  4. Custom build always is not always the best
  5. Keep users a priority

Other groupthink topics were best practices of coding styles, application architecture, architecture diagrams and some references to some smart architecture case studies.

There’s more to patterns

Patterns are all around us and user experience is all about identifying such repetitions or behavior that can help build solutions that cater to users versus just appeal.  The iPod is a classic example. It was through research and understanding of user behavior on the fancy mp3 players that led to the minimalist approach and successful launch of the iPod.

Development and UX can be at logger heads but it’s a healthy combination of these 2 that brings out the best of product or service.

Being smart about being lazy

Dividing the system into a set of modules is in itself a strategic approach. Keeping functionality restricted to each segment makes it easy to accommodate changes as and when, which is why modularization is a must while building anything. A type of futuristic thinking.

And same is the case with continuous deployment. Developers have always had their share of fears and concerns with deployment. Automating this phase is sure to help break free from the shackles of inconsistency.

Owning your role

Defining a role is a limitation we set for ourselves. Each role streams to another and there are endless possibilities of us adding value. There is always more to learn and more to do. Keep in mind, focus produces excellence, vision produces purpose and imagination propels us into the future.

Jack of ALL but master of ONE

A lot of skills come together to form a discipline. Being immersed in one skill is valuable, but definitely not as resourceful and holistic as compared to having that additional knowledge across a range of related skills. This T-shaped persona is something we should all aspire to grow into and taking on this mission starts with a change in mindset. Fixed to Growth. The benefits or satisfaction of being able to solve problems from a holistic perspective and taking responsibility beyond what a role defines will definitely help add value, both personally and for our company in the long run.

Keeping the learning alive

To keep all the learning alive, we were gifted a tool to create our very own project. IoT kits for all to trigger some curiosity – a good place to start. Acknowledging that exploring brings with it a whole lot of unknowns and fears, we were encouraged to envision the joy and satisfaction of seeing something come to life for the very first time.

The realization of where we stand and how much better we could be, individually and as a team was successfully delivered. We were left motivated and we’re now looking forward to the rest of this year to get hands-on before taking a deep dive into, not just technologies and but our mindset and thinking too! Meanwhile, we’ve got loads of puzzles to solve and it just got better with the possibility of a million perspectives there could be to it!


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