Who’s killing the unicorns?
Biggest mistake when hiring a software developer is thinking their value comes from the amount of tickets closed. Unless it’s a software development staff augmentation agency, this is a norm; because the bottom line is throwing bodies at the client’s problem. That business model needs to quantify value by counting the amount of tickets closed on a daily basis. Business organizations with similar modus-operandi will have a difficult time in retaining talent that eventually partakes in its product’s success.
The need for unicorns
In today’s market, it is increasingly difficult to find software engineering talent that will significantly invest in the organization’s business vision while building best-of-breed, next generation and contextually-driven applications. Attracting and sustaining such teams has become a paramount task considering the exponential software-consumption growth.
No matter how many perks and positive cultural attributes that promotes the ideal workspace, it all goes south once the company decides to ENSLAVE these unicorns into the abyss of ticket-tracking spreadsheets.
Working with unicorns
These unicorns love spending time making sure the weakest link in the team can keep up with the herd. Not all are natural born leaders, however they find pleasure in disseminating information and sharing best practices within the herd. Eventually the Unicorns become product engagement leaders that drives the team towards solving complex issues. Software project issue trackers cannot gauge a unicorns value, so the paradigm shifts towards how the team adapts towards change. The more adaptive and nimble, the greater potential becomes in harnessing ideas that will affect the product’s bottom line.
Resisting change is a natural conformity and perceived as deviant. Engineers and developers gravitate towards the safety net of what they are used to; and seldom break this paradigm. Known successful Unicorns such as Eric Elliott and Martin Fowler, write and speak about embracing change to tackle software development fears. There’s a growing consensus among CIO’s across multiple industries, that software needs to be developed at not only at a rapid scale but with the utmost security. So not only software teams are faced with the pressure on delivering unique products to the market that helps them differentiate, but they have to do it faster and in shorter time cycles; not doing so, the company could find itself on a path towards stagnation and eventually downward spiral.
Unicorns for change
So peeling this proverbial onion down to its inner most layers, we can see that it starts with the ideators, craftsmen and builders working on tangible product that will elicit the most buy-in from its consumers. Conformity needs to become the new deviant and fear…let’s leave that for the companies that want to ENSLAVE its workforce into micromanagement tasks in order to cope with risk.
The best explanation I can derive come from an Excerpt from Eric Elliott’s post How to Develop High Velocity Development Team
Change is the reason DNA exists
If you’re running a startup in the United States that’s less than 5 years old, there’s a 51% chance that you won’t ever hit that 5 year mark. There’s a 74% chance that you won’t last 15 years*… if you’re average.
Average businesses regularly lose to their competition. Average businesses can’t keep pace with changing technology. Average businesses fail to listen to the evolving needs and expectations of their customers.
But you’re not average. You embrace change. You make natural selection work in your favor. You don’t fear disruption. You cause it, because you understand the fundamental law of nature.
Save the unicorns!
In the end, software is about helping people, and if the organization is not empathetic within, then conforming to being average will shorten business operational life expectancy. Allow the Unicorns to run free to help create magical experiences for its users.