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Why we care about culture as much as code

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June 18, 2021
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min read

It’s easy for product experts to only get seen for their coding knowledge. But while you obviously want a product that’s technically brilliant, we bring more expertise to the table than what lies in our tech toolbox. Building to spec isn’t what we’re about. Instead, by bridging the gap between your business and the product we build, we help you achieve your wider objectives.

The thing is, when it comes to finding product experts to guide you through your startup journey, the people are every bit as important as what they can do. At T&F, we want to find the right personalities, accommodate different ways of working, and ultimately build the real relationships that make close collaboration possible.

We empower everyone to contribute

When we talk about the T&F team, we take the ‘team’ part seriously. We don’t want to limit developers by dictating how they should tackle a task. Instead, we have a flat structure where everyone can throw ideas around.

We’re not interested in siloing — innovation is everything in this industry, and sharing ideas across the team enables us to cheer each other on and push one another to be more inventive.

Developers have distinct roles on a project, but in our team itself no one is expected to stay in their lane. We want people to find the right place for them and their skills, so we make sure everyone can see every element of the process. And our culture is for anybody to get stuck in with solving any problem, whatever their role is within a project.

T&F is a unique melting pot of experience, and the best results always come when we pull our thinking together so that everyone can learn from each other. We love to push ourselves to work with new coding languages, frameworks and tools so that our horizons keep broadening - and so we can build what hasn’t been built before!

We also know that a lot of developers want to build a startup product of their own one day, and they’ll be among friends here. By being a part of what T&F is doing, seeing the entire startup product development process in action, we hope to give them all the skills and support base they need to be as successful as any of our clients.

We promote freedom

Trust holds us together as a team. Because we all work remotely, we give the benefit of the doubt that everyone is giving it their all and doing their best work for us. And in return for that high quality output, we offer our team the flexibility they need to have the lifestyle they deserve.

We care about getting work done more than prescriptive working hours. And while we have to make our routines fit the needs of the business, there is some leeway. So if a developer wants to start work at the crack of dawn, take a siesta, or cut down to three days a week to balance their family life, we’re open to having a conversation about it.

Theo with two dogs in a co-working space. Some people working in the background

At the end of the day, we just want everyone to be able to work in a way that maximises productivity and enjoyment. We expect people to be productive but we also have an unlimited holiday policy so high achievers can reward themselves after pushing to meet a goal. And because you can never quite predict what’s round the corner, we are reasonable when it comes to last-minute requests for time off.

For a lot of our team, flexibility means being able to devote time to building their own startup product. One of our developers recently did just that — they’d made a great proof of concept and wanted to focus on taking it to the next stage. So we all got behind it and gave them the advice they needed to go full speed ahead.

We want teammates, not employees

In his book Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh talks about rebuilding his company’s culture after realising he didn’t know the people he was working with and wasn’t getting the job satisfaction he needed. We built T&F with his message in mind - we wanted to build our culture right the first time!

We’d had our fill of corporate development and wanted to do something different. We look to work with diverse people who offer different perspectives for all of us to learn from, a team who inspire each other through their passion, talent and friendship.

It’s no secret that software development isn’t the most interactive job in the world, so we try and bring everyone together as much as possible, even though many of us live countries apart.

Sometimes we’ll rent out a cottage for a project so we can all get stuck in together — and our dogs will likely come along too. Or we’ll break out from behind our desks completely with a hike or a snowboarding trip. We’re up for anything that will strengthen our sense of togetherness and tribe.

A team member in the mountain jumping with his skis on

Without really planning it, it turns out our team are all keen runners, cyclists and hikers. So over lockdown we set a team goal for us all to reach a certain distance together. Somehow that collaborative event became quite competitive!

But most of the time we keep development as a team sport: carrying the same vision, working towards the same goal and sharing the same passion to get there. What we create together is all the better because of it.

Interested in joining the Thought&Function team? Or looking to bring your startup idea to life? Get in touch to find out more.