This is the fourth in a series intended to go deeper into each of our core values. The series was started by Brian with Our Core Values, Episode I: Be Excellent, followed by Russ with Episode II: Be Nice To People, and most recently followed by Allison with Episode III: Be Honest. I’ll continue the series with a Core Value that’s become especially important to me over the years: Work together.
Think Company’s development team was founded two years ago with the goal of helping our clients fully realize the beautiful design work we deliver. In the spirit of true teamwork, this group built collaborative relationships with fellow team members and clients right away — resulting in processes designed to create the best work possible for every project.
Early in my web development career, I was part of a similar cross-disciplinary project team that epitomized the value of working together. Back when waterfall workflows were the norm, I spent most of my days sitting with the UI and visual designers, writing and rewriting clunky, table-based HTML to render their visions. Our business owner had a deep understanding of and respect for the customer as well as a great interest in web technologies. Our project manager maintained the flow of information, made sure calendars and budgets were up-to-date, and kept everyone laughing.
Since that experience, I’ve joined a few new teams with the assumption that we would work together as well as that early team. In many cases, I was surprised when my new team members didn’t trust my judgment or value my opinion, and turf wars often took priority over business or user goals. On more than a few occasions, I found myself bogged down in the team’s strife and politics — only to go home at night and wonder why my early experience had been so different.
I’ve had fifteen years to ponder that question. And when I came to Think Company in 2013, I realized I had finally returned to an environment that demonstrates the same principles that made my early experience so special. I am part of a team that works together, and I was thrilled when we added this idea to our Core Values.
We collaborate with our coworkers and clients — valuing each others’ ideas and believing that teamwork will produce the best results.
What is it that strong teams do to work together effectively, efficiently, and happily? Well, they demonstrate all of Think Company’s Core Values. Each team member must strive to be excellent while continuously improving his or her skills. Team members must be nice to one another — which, to me, means respecting one another, being open to other points of view, and demonstrating empathy. Everyone must be honest with one another. Each person must work in service of the team, flexing and adapting to its needs in order to achieve the larger goal. Working together could be seen as the outcome of our other Core Values at work, or it can stand alone as an expectation of collaboration and cooperation.
Sometimes designers and developers mix like oil and water, but it’s easy to welcome new skills to the table when your environment places value on diversity. And such was the case when Think Company’s development team was formed. Our developers have been happily working together with our designers, project managers, and clients in total collaboration ever since.