It’s hard to believe it has been a full three years since we first started Tyrannosaurus Tech. In some ways, time has flown. At the same time, so much has happened, so it also feels like it has been a long journey to get to where we are. The company has grown, we’ve hired some great people, we expanded into some new offices, and we’ve taken on some exciting projects and clients. Naturally, our culture has evolved, too, and it has become something that is increasingly important to us.
In the early days, I’ll admit culture was not something front and center in my mind. For a new business, the culture really mostly just consists of...survive! It is hard to think of much else beyond putting one foot in front of the other and making sure you can pay the bills and make payroll. Fortunately, at this point for Tyrannosaurus Tech, we have a lot more breathing room and can increasingly take a step back to work “on” the business rather than “in” the business.
More and more, we’ve realized the importance of being very deliberate about what we want the culture at Tyrannosaurus Tech to be and the many ways that intentionally cultivating a culture can benefit our team, our clients, and dare I say...the world!
We have to ask ourselves some of the big hard questions.
- Why are we doing this?
- What do we want to stand for?
- What do our employees truly think about us and about working here?
- Why would talented people want to work here (and stay here)?
- How do others outside the business see us as compared to how we want to be seen?
- How can we ensure our team is engaged and performing at the best of their abilities?
- How do we avoid burnout?
In addition to hopefully just making everyone enjoy their time at work a bit more, there are so many good reasons to define and work on your company’s culture.
- Make it easier for candidates and employees to understand what you expect from them and what they can expect from you as their employer
- Simplify the process of deciding who is a fit (i.e. get the right people “on the bus”)
- Provide overarching principles that give the team direction and guide daily decisions and behaviors
- Set the right expectations with clients as far as how you work and what your team values
- Give the work you do a deeper meaning
- Shed light on the positive impact your company and team can have
On that note, we’ve defined 3 Core Cultural Tenets for Tyrannosaurus Tech. At a high-level, they are simple, succinct, and embody what the company is all about. On a more granular level, they guide our day to day behaviors, hiring decisions, communications amongst the team, etc.
Without further ado, our 3 Core Cultural Tenets are….
Those working on our team should be seeking to provide or receive mentorship in their role. Junior-level folks need to be hungry to grow. Senior-level folks need to be hungry to give back and help us build a strong team.
Everyone at Tyrannosaurus Tech needs to be pushing themselves to be better. For a developer, that might mean seeking out relevant conferences or classes that will help you hone your craft. If it will help you in your role and make you a better developer, we want you to go (we’ll typically pay for it, too). For those of us working in customer facing roles, that might mean taking classes to learn better storytelling, better project management processes, etc.
Growth & Innovation
Part of this “Learn” tenant is that folks on our team should be pushing us to grow and innovate as a company. Excited about a particular up and coming programming language or framework? Think it could be a BIG opportunity for our company? We want to hear about it. See processes in our workflow that could be automated? See a problem we’re solving again and again that could be turned into a product? We want to know. Help us look for ways to evolve and be a better business.
Manage the Client Experience
We know that ultimately folks come to us looking for top-tier design and development work so, of course, delivering on that front is a top priority. That being said, we know there is so much more involved in giving our clients a good experience. Such a big part of that is communication. Many of our clients are non-technical, and understandably, a little intimidated by making big investments in developing custom software. It is our job to educate our clients along the way, make sure they are getting regular updates and prompt clear responses, and generally put their minds at ease as they navigate an agile project flow with us. Our clients ultimately being happy with the deliverable is not enough. They need to feel supported and walk away from the engagement feeling that they learned something new and valuable from our team.
Be a Team Player
If you want to work at Tyrannosaurus Tech, working well with and enabling others on the team needs to be a priority. We’re all in this together and building complex digital products requires serious collaboration across a diverse group with varying skills. If a more junior developer is stuck on something, help them work through the problem and teach them something along the way. If there is a question sent out on Slack about something that is a blocker, let’s get a response out there as soon as possible so that person can get what they need and keep moving. If you’re working on a complex feature, make sure it is well documented so someone else can pick up and work on the feature in the future. Team members here need to see the big picture and understand our overall success on a project is about the whole team and how we come together effectively.
Let Us Know & Be Reachable
This one is HUGE. See Work from Home Policies: Finding the Right Balance For Your Creative Team on our blog. Since our team is mostly made up of super sharp developers and designers, we want to accommodate for flexible schedules and working from home, where appropriate. That being said, part of the deal is you have to communicate and be reachable. Stayed up super late cranking out code so, you’re coming in late today? No problem, just let us know and make sure you dial in to that 9:30am standup meeting. Need to work from home so you can focus on a complex feature you’re building? Cool, but please tell us ahead of time and be reachable on Slack and cell so we can get in touch quickly if something comes up. You get the idea! At the end of the day, we’re pretty laid back here, and we’re focused on results over facetime. Show us we can trust you to self-manage your work and time, and we’ll be in good shape.
3. Do Good
Give Back in Atlanta
It is important we invest in our home. Atlanta is changing so fast and now is an amazing time to make an impact. Many of us are settling down here and building families. Through organizations like Community Bucket, we’ve been able to get our team out of the office and putting some sweat equity into our city. As Tyrannosaurus Tech continues to grow, we want to make volunteering a priority. Giving back gives us perspective, shakes up our routine, and helps others.
Invest in the Atlanta Tech Community
Tech continuing to boom in Atlanta is key to our continued success, so we want to do our part to help Atlanta continue its rise to a booming national tech hub. Through meetups like LiT (Latinos in Tech) Atlanta and various office hours and events we host under the Tyrannosaurus Tech meetup, we want to be a resource for education, mentorship, and general encouragement for those looking to do big things in tech in Atlanta. The Atlanta tech community has come unbelievably far in the past several years and has given us so much from friendships, to mentors and advisors, to business opportunities. We plan to double down on our community focus.
Work On Projects that Matter
We’re grateful for every project we get to sink our teeth into and each project has aspects that are exciting and rewarding. That being said, we’ve especially enjoyed having the opportunity to work on projects that we feel are really making a positive difference in the world. For example, in the work we’re doing with The Ron Clark Academy, we’re able to play a small role in the incredibly transformative and innovative approaches to education that Ron and his team are developing. With Active Food Safety, we’re helping to develop a suite of food safety apps that help keep people from getting sick from foodborne illness. These projects mean a lot to the team, and we’re excited to work on more projects that give our day to day here more meaning.
There they are folks...Learn, Communicate, and Do Good. As Tyrannosaurus Tech grows, our culture will, too, and perhaps these tenants themselves will change. That is natural and all good in our minds. For now, though, we’re excited to align our team around these values as we push forward into the next phase with Tyrannosaurus Tech.