The importance of diversity in tech teams

BY Australian Retailers Association
21 November 2018

Diversity isn't just about race or gender. It's about background, perspective, age, education and so much more. For people building tech development teams, diversity should be an essential component. Not only is inclusion is the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, it also has tangible benefits for your team, your productivity, your customers and, according to the results of a global survey, your bottom line.

Diversity delivers the best solutions

Diversity of thought is critical to ensure your team can deliver the right solutions to business challenges. If you have a homogenous team, then you’re going to build a product that essentially serves one customer. To build a product with wider applicability, you need to input from a range of people with different perspectives and backgrounds.

Diversity increases creativity

If everyone on your team comes to a problem with the same knowledge, skills, worldview and biases, they will inevitably reach the same conclusions. Diversity is the only way to avoid this trap and foster truly creative teams

Diversity ensures passion

Not every project is going to be exciting to everyone on your team, but having people with different interests and backgrounds makes it easier to tie team members to projects that they are going to be passionate about and engaged with, which drives better results.

Diversity is customer-centric

The audience for your product is diverse, so why wouldn’t you want your team to reflect that diversity? A homogeneous team can find it challenging to tap into the mindset of a broad customer base, impacting your ability to reach a wider market.

It’s difficult to predict when the next big project is going to drop, and if it does, it is impossible to pull additional resources from thin air. Just as a sales team have a funnel of potential new clients, it’s crucial to have a network of developers who may be interested in future roles. What’s also crucial is demonstrable problem-solving skills—a non-negotiable for every developer. Platform-specific skills can be taught, but what you can’t teach is the ability to problem solve, which is the trickiest part of managing development projects.

Having a group of problem-solvers with diverse backgrounds keeps projects moving and means we hit deadlines and don’t burn resource. It also means that we have a higher chance of finding solutions in a shorter period of time, because we have the benefit of a team that operates across the full innovation spectrum, opening up access to greater creative solutions.

In terms of experience, having a diverse mix of junior, mid and senior developers makes it much easier to delegate tasks to different team members. It also creates career pathways, which allow people to come into the team and work their way through the ranks, ensuring we not only build but also retain a diverse, adaptable and efficient team.

When it comes down to it, building a diverse team in the tech industry just makes good sense—from a business perspective and an ethical one.

About Overdose Digital:

Martin Cox is the Technical and Development Director for Overdose Digital, a progressive end-to-end digital commerce agency operating across Asia Pacific, where he is focused on building a diverse, adaptable, efficient team. Prior to joining Overdose, Martin co-founded and headed up DO Commerce, a nimble digital commerce agency with a specialised Shopify focus. Martin can be contacted at via email at: martin.cox@overdose.digital | https://www.overdose.digital/


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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