engineering

The Novoda Craft University - Part 1: The Journey

Likes to Android with the aim of making that million dollar app one day; retiring to a beach of his choice. For now writes blog posts to hopefully enlighten others & gain some feeling of self worth.

This blog post explains how a high level of craft is kept up and shared amongst our 40 plus engineers. Part one follows your journey of learning and how crafting should lead the way.

We’re a digital product agency, and we try and deliver the best value for our partners through mobile apps and digital transformations. We’ve found through excellent communication, constant feedback loops and the art of crafting, we can deliver value over an over for partners.

First, let’s take a step back.

What is crafting?

Crafter isn’t just a fancy title we throw around, it has a purpose and meaning. It allows us to explain in shorthand the care and dedication we put into our jobs. It’s an encompassing word, that we feel includes, crafting, adding value, encouraging community, and having productive partnerships

The software craftsmanship manifesto starts off:

As aspiring Software Craftspeople, we are raising the bar of professional software development by practising it and helping others learn the craft.

The manifesto is a stake in the ground - something to believe in and something to work towards. Its aim is to raise the bar of professional development.

Now let’s look at the word itself.

Craft

Craft is where all the juicy stuff is. You have to remember crafting was around well before the term software craft was coined.

An activity involving skill in making things by hand.

Interesting that it says, by hand, technically we use our hands but is copy and paste still by hand? I don’t know.

Skills involved in carrying out one's work.

We need a bag of skills, always learning, collecting more skills.

Made in a traditional or non-mechanized way.

There is thought process, a bespoke-ness about each deliverable.

The members of a skilled profession.

This is about sitting together, learning together, sharing, being part of something (like reading this).

The organisation of Freemasons.

Sure everyone wants to be in a cult I guess.. :shrug:

The biggest takeaway I want you to have here is crafting is about sitting together, setting standards together, going on a journey together.

Challenges

Craft, togetherness, learning skills, going on a journey is what encompasses crafting, and what we see as value. The journey of a craftsperson is difficult and never-ending, If you aren’t conscious of your learning it can feel like its desert in all directions. You aren’t sure where to turn.
Your days can be full of hard work, sweat and tears.

We’re constantly learning as individuals. We have to communicate with others developing alongside us. We have to inherit knowledge, from others, living and codified knowledge. And we have to communicate with non-technical people in a way they understand.

Rewards

On the other hand, it is also a journey of joy. Everyone loves seeing a suite of green tests. It’s a great feeling when all your tests are green. All that confidence. It’s quite exciting, learning, playing with something new, sharing and understanding. Your journey is about knowledge acquisition.

Did you see how exhilarated Neo was after his learning of kung fu? Whilst we don’t learn quite that fast, you should still find it enjoyable and rewarding to learn.

Your journey should be about professional growth. Me writing and sharing this blog post (and conference talk), this is growth for me, a step forward in my career and my crafting path. You should always be looking to grow. Asking what your next step is.

These are the rewards & successes that come with our journey. We’re constantly getting more personal skills & capabilities. Every time we grow, things we did previously become easier and situations less stressful. You can have a better work-life balance - look at where you’ve come from and the ease at which you can do certain tasks now. You’re growing your bag of skills, and this gives you more opportunities and prospects.

Learning

This is your continuous journey and the learning that is involved is yours. Nobody comes to a job knowing everything, we each have different strengths and weaknesses, knowledge in some areas and not in other areas.
Throughout your journey, you learn new things and adapt and change to what everyone else is learning around you.
What you have to remember is everyone is the same.

We have this psychological condition that makes us feel as though everyone else knows more than ourselves, but this isn’t the case. Everyone has different knowledge, in your career you learn new things and hear new ideas. We want this journey for everyone at Novoda, we want to encourage the learning and have a path inside of the company.

Pragmatism

The one thing that isn’t in the definition of craft is pragmatism. We value crafting but we also value pragmatism.
Pragmatism is about understanding the goal and getting there without delay.

Whilst you believe in crafting you should also believe in pragmatism and shipping value. Pragmatism is a skill that you have to learn. Taking a step back and saying; what are we talking about, what is the aim, is what I am doing aligned with what I am aiming for?

Can all be seen as pragmatic behaviours.

what is the value in that?

Value is the most underrated word in a team environment. Walk around saying this to everyone and you will go far. Pragmatism can be seen as taking the shortest path to the value.

Conclusion

Everyone is learning and should want to be continuously learning throughout their career. Crafting is a path you can take to learn more about engineering and deliver better products. So how do you start learning to craft? The next post will look at how we have created a tailored solution to explore learning and give a path and direction to the topic of Crafting on Mobile.

Read part two here:

https://www.novoda.com/blog/ncu-part-2-the-teaching

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About Novoda

We plan, design, and develop the world’s most desirable software products. Our team’s expertise helps brands like Sony, Motorola, Tesco, Channel4, BBC, and News Corp build fully customized Android devices or simply make their mobile experiences the best on the market. Since 2008, our full in-house teams work from London, Liverpool, Berlin, Barcelona, and NYC.

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