Empowering your developers to think creatively

Callum Trounce
Jan 29, 2020 · 3 min read

Creating a leading fashion platform requires thinking outside of the box, finding eloquent solutions to complex problems, and, ultimately, approaching them with the user experience in mind.

Being an iOS Engineer at ASOS, my role encompasses all of the above.

Developers must be allowed to express their creativity and take part in problem solving activities — whether it be building a beautiful user interface or creating in-house tools to assist in streamlining processes.

Not only does this keep development projects well maintained, and the team motivated to deliver, but it also fosters a forward-thinking mentality.

How can this be achieved?

Product development process

A sense of ownership results in greater personal investment, which vitally maximises focus on quality.

Getting the development team involved during the conceptual phases of projects instils this sense of ownership, and work is approached with more passion.

At ASOS, developers regularly meet with Product Owners throughout the development process. These meetings allow for the communication of business rationale, and the development team can offer their insight and thoughts about the product. The outcome of this is often a more well-rounded, technically-informed solution.

HackComps

ASOS Tech recently held a 2-day themed hackathon (At ASOS, we call them HackComps)

Participants, having been separated into cross-discipline teams, likely with people whom they have never worked with, were tasked with the challenge of conceptualising and building a solution to the given problem and demonstrating their solution to a panel of judges and the rest of the teams.

A particular problem to solve with a tight deadline puts participants outside of their comfort zones, sparking teamwork and creativity through the focus on a single end goal.

Not only was the HackComp plenty of fun for all involved, but the outcome included a lot of innovative concepts, some of which used as inspiration to drive the ASOS customer experience forward. It was awesome to see what everyone created!

Team culture

ASOS puts a strong focus on personal development. Objective setting sessions and regular catchups with line managers and team leads mean that developers are encouraged to push themselves and choose their path — whether it be focussing on building tooling, encouraging certain development practices, or specialising in a particular area.

The iOS development team has regular engineering meetings. Team members can share their thoughts about how certain processes can be improved and remain up-to-date with cutting-edge practices.

Consequently, this allows us to express our creativity in a way that is most meaningful to us and inspires a culture of proactivity.

Sum up

The more involved developers are in the end-to-end process of the product, the more invested they are to deliver fantastic work.

Well-crafted team events allow not just developers, but many others, to apply their creativity and problem-solving skills.

Allowing developers to manage their own personal and professional goals encourages a forward-thinking attitude and brings more value to their day-to-day roles.

Combining these points results in a more motivated team, allowing ASOS to continue delivering well-thought-out, user-centric features to a high quality.

It’s a worthwhile investment to ensure that your developers are empowered to think creatively, which, in turn, cultivates a positive working environment and a strong work ethic.

About me

My name is Callum Trounce. I have been an iOS Engineer at ASOS for just over six months. I have a keen eye for user experience, development processes, and more! I love my team and the things we’re building together.

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