Last month, we had some discussions with the Shinetech branch managers and they have put forward some questions on our mission and vision. It is good to talk about these topics, because it urges us to think more deeply about our mission and vision.
Here are the questions:
• If our mission is to promote the developers, and this could be a relatively clear direction for the company's management team, what should the developers do?
• If our company value puts the developers in first place, then what should the developers pay attention to?
First, I would like to talk about the concept of mission, vision and value, to make sure that we share a common understanding.
The mission of a company is the meaning of existence of the company. The question that a company's mission needs to answer is why do we build the company? Is all our hard work only for surviving?
Vision is the small goal set for achieving the mission; it's a periodic goal. If the mission requires decades of effort to realize, then the vision is the small goal which can be achieved within a few years.
Value is the concept or a number of code of conducts for realizing vision and mission; it can also be seen as the methods and means to achieve vision and mission.
The company without mission can easily turn into a profitable machine. I have a friend who is the owner of an enterprise, and he complained to me one day that he felt exhausted about having to explore new projects every day. Actually, I have ever had the same confusion. The original intention of building the company was to make more money, until I found the core driving force for sustainable development of the enterprise. This is namely that every developer should have space to develop and make money. We have tried many methods to help developers benefit from the company development at the same time they are making contribution to it, such as: significantly increased the developers' salaries, encouraged and developed branch offices, established overseas branch offices, encouraged developers to work abroad, tried different models (partners and delivery centers) etc. Shinetech's development process is parallel to the development process of our developers. We summarized all the methods as our mission, which is to enhance and reflect the value of developers.
In order to make our mission more concrete and effective, I have added one more sentence on the basis of the current mission: enhance and reflect the value of developers, and promote change in China's software industry. If we want to change the world, we have to change ourselves first. Only when the developers keep improving, change of the software industry can happen and therefore produce software that can create better value for users.
It's not only the technical capacity of the developers that we look to change while cultivating and improving them, more importantly, it is the awareness of software. These changes will eventually affect the entire software industry. And I hope this could be the direction that every Shinetech developer strives for.
As a small periodic goal, our vision is to build a company that is most suitable for developers to work in. This seems significantly different from the impression of a traditional outsourcing company. But if you must classify us as an outsourcing company, then we will have to subvert the impression of the outsourcing business in people's minds. But how?
Considering the development of developers as the cornerstone of the development of the enterprise, this can be seen as "developers first". Any enterprise's development strategy is ultimately an extension of its employees' development strategy. By training and providing opportunities, we can help our employees to upgrade and develop their abilities to their full potential. These abilities can only be accumulated and reflected in the process of creating value for customers, not by simple learning. People can only gain knowledge and skills by simple learning, and knowledge and skills are only the tools for problems solving and value creating. And it is only when you make good use of the tools to solve the problems you achieve value creation in the process.
In addition to "developers first", Agile Manifesto itself is a set of values, and is also an important part of the value of Shinetech. Agile Manifesto will not be explained in details here, but I hope the following four core values can be remembered:
• Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
• Working software over comprehensive documentation
• Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
• Responding to change over following a plan
The above four values can be applied at any time in our work, not only in software development, but also in company's daily management and operation. Agile is (i) an advanced concept which combines Western civilization and ancient oriental wisdom, (ii) a human-centered development concept and value, and (iii) in high coincidence with the values we want to express.