This blog post explains how a high level of craft is kept up and shared amongst our 40 plus engineers. Part three explains what we have learnt from the NCU and how you can improve inside your company.
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.
If you haven't read part two yet, you can find it here.
Historically we kept the NCU fluid, it was a spoken effort, loosely defined and verbally given. Some people really enjoyed it, the learning, the introduction to our processes.
However, some other people fed back that they wanted more structure, more definition. They wanted a checklist to work from. They wanted to know the reasons behind each module. And they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any of awesome potential learning to be had. So what did we do?
We then created the booklet, gave it more structure, a path to follow. Inside the booklet, we have introductions to each module. We have the reading list. And we have checkboxes of each stage of the work, so you can keep track. This went on for a while and then people fed back.
People fed back that it was too rigid, to tightly coupled, to stringent. Read this exact book. Do this exact point. But it was never meant to be this way, it’s a guide to learning, but the fact we made it real, a physical thing, people felt they couldn’t do anything other than what it explicitly said.
NCU Process Conclusion
At the end of the day throughout this journey. The NCU is always what you make it. There is a rigid booklet for those that want instructions, but there is no downside to going off the path. We let people change books, investigate anything, run it the way they want to. For example some ppl like watching video not reading.
The NCU is about learning and encouraging people to develop. Not about box ticking or forced learning.
Learning is fun and we want to keep it that way.
Here is what some graduates say about the NCU:
I really enjoyed the process. It exposed me to books and problems otherwise I would skip or overlook. Flexibility could be improved in my opinion
Learning is the best thing that happens at novoda, I wish some of the NCU modules where shorter
I really appreciated the NCU as guide for my career path, but why does it stop after one year?
This discussion about the fluidity of learning vs rigidity of a defined task it really needs some thought.
Guilds are our next iteration, separating up into smaller groups who want to learn around a specific topic. We have Android and iOS guilds, IoT, Machine Learning and Data science guilds. This approach could impact the NCU in the creation of new modules or a complete reorganisation of what is deemed a "module".
Right now, people feedback to me to change and expand the NCU, but I want everyone to have the power to change.
Need to think how to increase flexibility and involvement in the materials creation. After speaking to a few people we are hoping to open source the NCU in the near future.
Digital tracking will help people record where they are up to, set goals and targets easier, breaking down the problem into smaller chunks.
Craft isn’t just hype - businesses want people who have quality, want people who give value. Involve your company on your journey, let them know your aims and goals, but also measure your impact, show how your crafting process and practices add value and help you succeed. When you succeed your company succeeds.
Novoda believes in quality, this includes quality of its engineers as well as everything else. Therefore your craft is important to Novoda if you do well the company does well.