InspiringApps Shares Advice for Women Managing Tech Teams

InspiringApps Shares Advice for Women Managing Tech Teams Image

Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Director of Operations, Stacy Griffin, joins other leaders in sharing their career journeys, the lessons they’ve learned, and their advice for other women.

Describe your career journey and current role.

My career journey spans over 20 years in technology, project management, and people management. I started out as a developer at IBM and then moved into a developer lead role, which is when I began managing projects. From there, I pivoted to a formal project management role, which involved interacting with the business, gathering requirements, and managing technical project delivery. I eventually joined InspiringApps as a project manager, applying those same skills.

Recently, I was promoted to director of operations, a new strategic role. I manage people and projects as a member of the leadership team. I’m also involved more on the sales side. My job requires managing a team of developers and overseeing client engagements and project lifecycle and delivery. It requires a lot of communication with clients and developers, both of whom have distinct working styles. To set expectations, I draw from years of experience in listening and applying empathy. I also have a master’s in computer science, which gives me aptitude and credibility with technical audiences.

What advice do you have for other women who manage tech teams or aspire to?

I have two pieces of advice for women who aspire to manage tech teams. First, find a role model. Look for mentors, ask questions and try to learn from the people around you. Secondly, avoid imposter syndrome. You should feel comfortable in your own skin. Remember that you’ve earned your seat at the table.

What’s one important lesson you’ve learned in your time as a leader, and how has that made you a better manager?

I’ve learned that there’s no single right way to manage people. Having the courage to manage in a way that’s comfortable and authentic to my personality allows me to lean into my strengths and improve in areas where I need to grow. 

It’s also important to know that treating people with autonomy and respect builds trust. People appreciate it when you’re honest and open. I’m not a micromanager, and I naturally take the role of supporting people. I’ve learned to combine open dialog with frequent check-ins. Bringing my authentic self to work makes me a better manager.

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Creating a Great Company Culture

Culture is what we share; it’s the values, goals, attitudes, and practices that make us who we are as an organization. A strong culture can give your company an advantage by fostering loyalty, creativity, and motivation. But what are the ingredients of positive company culture? Each company has its own unique culture and way of crafting it. The best cultures dovetail perfectly: employees and leaders focus on the same mission and encourage rewards. Discovering the perfect combination, however, doesn’t happen overnight.  This article shares our approach and recommendations to create an intentional company culture, offering insights and strategies that any company can apply to nurture a positive environment that leads to success. What is intentional company culture? Every company has a culture. While culture may form organically, consistent and intentional cultivation will result in greater success. Intentional company culture combines organizational values and mission with the rewards of employment that come in four main styles:  Loyalty-based Performance-based Opportunity-based Lifestyle-based No style is better than the other; it’s dependent on the company and the employees hired. For instance, if your staff prefers lifestyle-based culture (flexible work or other perks) over performance-based culture (raises and promotions for a job well done), the employees may stay dissatisfied and leave to find a company culture that suits their preference. In InspiringApps’ infancy, the personalities of the relatively few people involved drove our culture. But as the company grew, we were careful to emphasize the characteristics that fostered a positive work environment and eliminated any contrary to what we’ve come to value—empathy, inclusion, and personal growth for our employees.  Why do your employees need an intentional company culture? A recent survey found that 79% of employees who left their jobs did so because of a lack of appreciation, and 50% said they were more motivated by appreciation than money. This sounds like a job for company culture! In an ideal world, company culture and performance should work in tandem. Employees who are happy with their jobs have higher satisfaction rates. However, lousy work culture can hurt employees, bringing high turnover rates, burnout, and subpar work. Creating an intentional company culture requires consistency and time. There is no shortcut.  Intentional company culture benefits from open minds. Influential leaders seek to:  Understand what employees appreciate and what causes them pain. Hear employees’ suggestions for improvement. Follow through with promised changes. Repeat the above frequently. Intentional company culture requires commitment from everyone—especially the leadership team. InspiringApps understands this fundamental truth. An InspiringApps employee explains it best:  How To Develop & Maintain a Great Company Culture  Engaged employees are critical for business success. Experience is the best teacher, and we’ve learned plenty of lessons regarding things that keep our employees a happy part of the team. We built our culture slowly and methodically, and we’re proud to celebrate strong retention, with over 40% of our staff staying with us for more than five years. Among all the lessons we’ve learned, the following best practices stand apart from the rest: Promote from within. Offer excellent benefits. Be inclusive. Communicate consistently. In the following sections, we discuss each best practice in detail and share our experiences to help every company develop and maintain a great culture. Promote From Within Today’s employees are looking for a company with opportunities for career advancement and appreciate roles with a clear path to growth and promotions, as they give them personal goals to work towards. Along the employee journey, InspiringApps offers professional development opportunities that help our team members stay on top of their skills, expand their capabilities, and incorporate new and developing interests. By doing so, our employees can have long tenures at InspiringApps, while remaining competitive. At the same time, we can hire the best candidates for our growing positions right from our own team. As the InspiringApps client roster scaled, so did our team. We promoted long-time employees into our development team lead roles, recognizing their wisdom and honoring their commitment to our team through their tenure. Offer Excellent Benefits Many startups, including InspiringApps, may be resource-constrained in the early days. Health and retirement benefits are expensive, so we focused first on benefits that didn’t require a direct cash outlay. Establishing a two-day-per-week remote work policy over a decade ago, accommodating part-time employees, and offering flexible work hours were all low-cost ways to treat our team with respect. As InspiringApps matured, we also added more traditional benefits. In addition to a 401(k) plan with match, profit sharing, and a generous and flexible PTO policy, we recently increased the company’s health premium contribution from 50% to 100% and added company-paid vision, dental, disability, and employee assistance (EAP). Be Inclusive Inclusivity is a mandate kept top-of-mind in the projects and clients we take on and the staff we hire and promote. In a historically homogenous industry like tech, inclusivity can be a challenge. Through intentional recruiting and a focus on providing opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups to join the field, InspiringApps is working to build a more diverse team that better reflects the communities we serve. Promoting women in tech is one way we’ve made strides in our company. At InspiringApps, women make up 40% of our leadership team and more than a third of our employees, which is 20% more than the US average. Promoting diversity and inclusion provides various perspectives, which is essential for the challenges we’re addressing in our consumer apps. We consider it a competitive advantage as we continue to innovate for our clients. Additionally, we’ve made a concentrated effort over time to welcome new employees. Years ago, that welcome included a team lunch on Pearl Street. Since our team has grown, that lunch is now digital—and the efforts to be inclusive extend much further than that. Communication and connection are ingrained into the way we set up projects, make progress on initiatives, and more. Communicate Consistently Secrecy and unexplained decision-making from leaders lead to unengaged employees. Transparency is the answer. About 85% of employees are most motivated when they know what’s happening and why. Open and frequent communication, including standups and all-hands meetings, project or team demos, company newsletters, and social media, encourages employees to gain trust in leadership. When you share company goals regularly, your employees will feel confident in knowing the direction they’re working. The more your employees see open communication from leaders and are encouraged to participate in decision-making, the better communicators they’ll be with your clients, modeling positive communication behaviors in everything they do. Technology is your ally when it comes to employee engagement. Offering a Slack channel or other internal chat features, an employee app, or an intranet site where employees can share and talk directly to leaders can inspire a transparent culture. The Value of Culture InspiringApps nurtures a culture of respect, empathy, and inclusivity. Our commitment to culture is exemplified by an official Great Places to Work ® Certification™. But that recognition is only a small window into the little things that our team is doing every day to reinforce the culture we’ve been nurturing for years. Our culture is one of our most valuable assets. It defines our expectations for the way we treat one another. Beyond making InspiringApps a pleasant place to work, our culture is evident in our client relationships and in the apps we create. Building award-winning apps starts with a language that’s foreign to many of us: code. For more than 15 years, our app development team has built easy-to-use iOS, Android, and web applications serving over 100 companies in a dozen industries. See our work.

1 month ago

App Development

Top 8 Reasons To Build a Mobile App in 2023

Mobile apps are changing the way we explore our world. Through apps, we feel connected to a global community of users, and we can tap into resources that might not be available to us otherwise. Today’s mobile apps have become more than just entertainment providers. Mobile apps have become invaluable tools for business owners and innovative entrepreneurs, enabling them to: Leverage big data Increase productivity Generate revenue Streamline business processes Advance emerging technologies Boost customer engagement and satisfaction Make an impact There are numerous benefits to having an app for your business and some great reasons customers will love to download your new app. The InspiringApps app development team shares the top eight reasons to build a mobile app in 2023. Get Ahead of Your Competitors In today’s competitive market, a mobile app gives your business a significant edge above the rest. Not only does it cater to the needs of your target audience, but it also strengthens your brand image and recognition. Perhaps your competitors don’t offer apps yet, or maybe you can create unique features in your app that competitors don’t have. App development offers endless possibilities to make your brand stand out from others. With a single app, you can develop your unique brand voice and credibility in the market. Run Your Business More Efficiently There’s a lot to get done to keep businesses running smoothly, and B2B apps can offer a variety of efficiencies. You can use internal-facing, custom B2B apps to optimize your business processes—for example, internal corporate procedures, employee communication, or workflow automation. Mobile app developers customize apps to match your company’s unique systems, processes, tools, and functions. Custom app development can incorporate complex data systems, making it effortless to manage high-volume data and perform numerous functions all in one app. The right app can help eliminate redundant work and tasks, so you can focus on more important things like developing new products or improving existing ones, making it easier to achieve better outcomes for your business. Generate Revenue Wondering how to make your business more successful? Put it on mobile. The app industry has accrued billions of dollars in the last decade. According to a Business of Apps data report, Android and iOS app revenue amounted to $133 billion in 2021—a 19% (year-on-year) increase from 2020. People everywhere use their mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) more than home computers. The convenience of mobile apps makes it easier for customers to find, purchase, and retrieve your products and services on demand. Not only will your ongoing customers be privy to the app, but chances are that many others will learn about your business, significantly boosting your sales. We collaborated with Artifact Uprising to craft an award-winning app that sends photos from phone to print in a matter of minutes. In only its second year, the app generated 16% of the company’s revenue—an exceptional return on investment. The Artifact Uprising mobile app is a case study of software development success. Solve a Problem Intuitive companies can anticipate their customers’ needs and provide the right tools to overcome common challenges. Our app developers thrive on solving problems, assisting the end user, and providing intelligent digital solutions for our clients. Mobile apps can simplify complexities and provide innovative solutions to meet each customer’s needs. For instance, Fidelity National Financial, an InspiringApps client, recognized a big problem of compromised security during real-estate transactions. There were large amounts of money put at risk during the transactions. To solve this problem, we created inHere, a transformative fintech app that streamlines these processes and keeps it all secure. Apply Business Intelligence You can get actionable data insights from your customers to better serve them through mobile apps. Big data has been a hot topic in the tech industry, and for good reason. Integrated with AI and analytics, big data keeps your business one step ahead and significantly smarter.  Consider Spark Your Channel, a powerful marketing platform created in collaboration with InspiringApps. The app enables prominent technology vendors to arm their channel partners with tools to manage marketing campaigns with automated personalized content, analytics, and modern prospecting best practices. Using business intelligence and analytics, Spark Your Channel created more engagement and higher customer conversion rates. Enable Digital Interactions Apps can be companions to physical entities, increasing user engagement and enjoyment. Often, the mobile app serves as the pipeline between gathering the data and processing it online. Fitbit is an excellent example of enabling digital interactions through app development—the app is a part of the fitness experience and helps track and gather valuable data. Enabling digital interactions involves anticipating user touchpoints and meeting their needs across multiple devices or channels. Mobile apps that own their user’s digital experience in an end-to-end fashion will find loyal customers that keep on coming back. Innovate Staying up to date with emerging technology trends is essential for business growth and success. It also helps build brand recognition and loyalty when users trust you’re ahead of the curve. The next brilliant innovation may be just around the corner, and when you can see ahead, the results can be out of this world. Our latest project, the Explore Orion app, is an excellent example of app innovation. With the Artemis missions, Orion will take humanity back to the Moon—and the Explore Orion app lets users hop on board. For the first time, anyone can send messages to space using the Explore Orion app, designed and built by InspiringApps. Make an Impact Mobile apps can inspire remarkable change in how we interact with the world. They can improve people’s quality of life and create interconnected communities from the inside out.  Making an impact isn’t limited to social change. Apps can transform financial futures, help keep us healthy, improve mindfulness, and connect us to the resources we need—from ride-sharing to education. One of the most rewarding aspects of app development is the ripple effect a mobile app can have. For example, with the Cancer Exercise app, we helped craft customized exercises for cancer survivors to improve their quality of life. The Cancer Exercise app is the first mobile exercise app for iOS designed explicitly for cancer survivors of all ages, regardless of their level of physical condition, types and stages of cancer, and types of treatment—and even those who have won the fight and find themselves years beyond treatment. Apps like these profoundly impact and inspire our team, clients, communities, and the world at large. What’s Next on the Horizon Mobile application development is a rapidly evolving field that’s still going strong after years of evolution. The top reasons to develop a mobile app also reveal the benefits your app can offer: Improving customer satisfaction Expanding your customer base Solving a problem Generating revenue Standing out from the competition Applying business intelligence  Evolving with emerging technological trends Making an impact to benefit others Inspiration is an aha moment—a flickering idea that takes hold and grows into an instrument of change. An experienced app developer can help to guide your mobile app project from ideation over the horizon. Making an innovative app with impact is within reach. There’s never been a better time to bring your mobile app idea to life, and InspiringApps offers the services you need to succeed now and into the future.

1 month ago

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