Company culture has been defined in lots of ways by many people. One thing that everyone can agree on is this: company culture, or the lack thereof, largely determines the long-term success of a business enterprise. It is certainly true in the highly competitive nearshore software development field.
Nearshore software development is on track to fully overtake offshore in the near future. Companies like iTexico, an Austin, Texas provider of both domestic and nearshore services, are leveraging the many advantages of software development south of the U.S. border to serve clients in the States and abroad. Only those with solid company cultures will survive in the long term, though.
Company culture is basically a company’s values and the policies and initiatives in place to support them. There are two ways to create a company culture:
- Establish the culture right from the start – in addition to mission and vision – by encapsulating the values of company founders; or
- Wait until the business is up and running to develop values based on market direction.
Far too many technology startups adopt the second approach under the false impression that the business environment should dictate culture. Companies that go this route often find themselves changing directions with every shift of the wind. That is no way to build a business. Establishing company culture from the very first day of planning is the way to go.
A Strong Culture Means a Strong Company
Another unfortunate myth is that it’s possible for an enterprise to exist without a company culture. Every company has a culture, whether intentional or not. Doesn’t it make sense to establish a strong culture around which a new enterprise will be developed rather than waiting for the winds of the market to blow the company one way or the other? Absolutely.
In the highly competitive arena of nearshore software development, a strong company culture requires six things:
- Clear Values – Business decisions are steered by the values of those making them. Therefore, values must be clearly articulated and shared by all those in decision-making positions. Conflicting values create conflicting decisions.
- Clear Vision – Hand-in-hand with clear values is an equally clear vision. Decision makers need to agree about where the company is going and how to get there.
- Solid People – A company with strong values will not be effective unless the people they hire are on board with those values. There is no substitute for solid team and supportive members.
- Solid Practices – If company culture encapsulates both values and the initiatives and policies in place to pursue them, solid practices need to be in place as well. The day-to-day practices of company staff are what make company culture reality.
- Collaborative Space – Believe it or not, collaborative space is part of company culture for nearshore software development. Team members need the ability to collaborate both in person and remotely. Therefore, physical and digital space is necessary.
- A Narrative – The sixth component of a strong company culture is something Harvard Business Review’s John Coleman refers to as the ‘narrative’. A narrative is essentially an understanding of the company’s history combined with its vision for the future. The narrative evolves over time.
A strong company culture is at the heart of business success. Nearshore software development is one area of business in which company culture is critical. If a nearshore firm’s culture is not solid, how can it ever hope to produce at the level clients are expecting? It cannot. Culture is something that must be purposeful. It cannot be subject to circumstances or individual whims.