Developing software? Get Accountability First

Developing software?  Get Accountability First

With ever-increasing customer demands, the future will continually be defined by greater transparency and data privacy guarantees. But as software companies adapt, they often forget that it’s not just about changing their external strategy; they also need to look within.

Software accountability proposes a new perspective for creating and managing digital products, primarily by making processes more trustworthy and transparent for all stakeholders involved. According to Patrick Lencioni, a veteran team management author, responsibility it represents a clear sign of a successful and high-performing team.

Here are the steps to weaving responsibility into the fabric of your business.

Know that accountability is not finger pointing
Accountability is more than simply being responsible for one’s actions. Refers to creating a culture“where new ideas are welcomed, people across the organization collaborate in pursuit of common goals, where we empower people to bring bad news so we can act on it, and where failures and accidents are treated as opportunities to learn how to improve instead of witch hunts”.

prioritizing autonomy, competence and relationship (the feeling of being connected to others) is essential. When an error appears, the conversation can happen immediately, not for the purpose of pointing fingers but to redirect. Ultimately, mistakes represent an opportunity to move forward; they should not be hidden, but owned as a badge of an important lesson for the entire team.

Formalizing accountability in a comprehensive document is a much-needed investment for startups. At Octobot, we created a playbook where, in addition to ground rules like “Don’t assume people know something they don’t,” we emphasize the importance of empathy. Team members must collaborate and try to understand each other in order to take the best course of action in any given situation.

Implement the Four Steps to Accountability
Regardless of your configuration, know that accountability must be governed by absolute transparency. You can’t hold people accountable unless you give them the information and tools they need to develop solutions they also feel empowered to execute. Here are four ways to get started.

Plant the seeds
Starting small allows you to establish positive dynamics and accountability structures to build a healthy customer relationship one step at a time. With smaller projects, you can also get results as quickly as possible before scaling them up.

A notorious mistake in software development projects is to jump right into the development stage. Lack of understanding and subsequent planning can have fatal consequences for your business, including skyrocketing project costs, missed deadlines, or launching a product that no one will use. Do not underestimate the initial diagnosis: analyze how much information you have and what you might need to investigate to better empathize with users and understand the goals of the project.

Set up a dedicated team
By having a team dedicated to one project at a time, you can build more focus and commitment over time. However, always make sure the team has all the basics to make independent decisions for success.

We had to learn this the hard way: In the past, we didn’t share all the necessary information with the team involved in each project. For example, we did not see the need for them to know the value of the contract. But over time, we realized how vital it was for them to have this knowledge to set more accurate budgets, plan for a given period of time, or even lead better negotiations with clients.

Communicate often and openly
Today, 83% of decision makers They say that better sharing and communication are crucial for software development organizations. Therefore, you should encourage the team to discuss their work and share their decisions candidly to ensure team alignment and a common focus on business priorities.

Scrum and other agile methodologies give you plenty of touchpoint opportunities to ensure everyone is on the same page. Ceremonies (daily, planning, retrospective, etc.) should become open spaces where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, difficulties and suggestions. Accountability thrives when people are transparent and supportive: issues are dissected and everyone understands their impact and collectively comes up with the best next steps.

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For true accountability, let the team know that they can roll back the requirements if they see a better way of doing things, as long as the interests of the customers are taken into account. Every individual should feel safe and inspired to speak up, brainstorm, use tools like mood boards, and openly share feedback. The equation here is simple: information + commitment + decision-making power = accountability.

It would be contrary to the very principles of responsibility for start-ups to adopt it simply by incorporating a set of rigid rules. Being accountable is about finding what works best for everyone involved, and as the leader of your company, your job is to look at this over time and take the necessary steps to help your team succeed.

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