In 2020 Test Double refined our double agent values into a more crystalized set of values about Test Double as a whole. You can find the updated Test Double values on our culture page. You’ll likely notice a throughline from these 2016 double agent values to our current Test Double values. And that was intentional.
An important aspect of our culture at Test Double are the values that all of our agents share. In the early years, we did a good job hiring to this mysterious fit. Recently we laid out exactly what those values are and why they are important in the people that we work with on a daily basis. This post will hopefully allow our clients, recruits, and any others who are interested to see what we value in the agents we hire at Test Double and why.
We trust that people closest to the problems should be empowered to do what’s right to solve them. Further, we believe that in software development, people do their best work when they are the most creative versions of themselves. Dictating where and when you work limits the creativity that you can apply as software developers to best help our clients, so we will always resist the urge to place boundaries or constraints on how you work. We trust all of our employees to do what’s right by themselves, Test Double, and our clients. This is most obviously demonstrated by the fact that we are a remote agency, wherein many of our agents work from home. I do not know when our agents start or end their day, or whether they take breaks in the middle to nap, play with their children, walk their dog, or go for a run. I do know that their clients will contact me to let me know if they are not delivering value in line with their client expectations.
We value feedback from our customers and peers. We believe that we should be accountable in doing what is right by our clients even when it does not align with how we typically work or with how they typically work. Even if this causes short term pain for our customers or ourselves. We believe that we should always look back on completed projects and client engagements with pride. We should hold each other accountable to a level of quality within our projects that while it may be difficult to describe or define, is agreed upon by our team members and clients. Within Test Double we believe that our accountability to one another to do what’s right for our clients, our company and ourselves will result in a version of our company that is its best self.
Enabling all members of Test Double to make the right decision is part of the story. We also need to be open and honest with all aspects of our business so that people have the information to make decisions in the best interests of the company. We earn client’s trust which allows us to work autonomously by communicating in an open and honest manner with them at all times. For example, quoting a project with an unrealistic number of hours or dollars in order to simply “win the business” is not something we would ever do. Committing to fixed bid and scope projects is another example where we feel it’s downright dishonest to broadcast a “finite” end state for software when you are at the very early phases of the project. Waiting to share bad news is an example of behaving in an honest, yet not very open manner. If we are providing clients with a ballpark estimate of when we think we’ll be done and we are off, that information needs to be shared ASAP so that they can make the best decision in terms of their business before it is too late. Keep in mind that context matters in this case. Broadcasting information openly and honestly without context can still lead to bad decisions.
We are striving to be exceptional in all aspects of our business. If we want to reach higher levels of fulfillment in our jobs, careers, and lives, we must constantly work to get better at what we do. Especially when the state of software development is currently largely broken. If we are not improving, what we do will rapidly get commoditized and autonomy will then be restricted or removed. Holding each other accountable and providing actionable feedback to each other will only allow us to improve as individuals and team. The tools, languages, and technology that we work with are constantly changing and evolving. If we are going to continue to help shepherd our clients into new and better ways of developing software then we need to constantly learn how to leverage the new technology and practices that are evolving as we speak.
Our environment allows people to get out of Test Double as much as they put into it. If we want clients to value and appreciate our autonomy, we need to be driven to produce results which delight them. Working remote in a manner which doesn’t measure the hours or minutes worked means that we must be driven to deliver value to them at all times, even when the problems we are solving are not the most challenging or when we are faced with an environment that doesn’t seem ideal. We must have the drive to push through challenges, constraints, and the limits of our knowledge and experience if we truly want to have an environment that is autonomous, accountable, open, honest, and continuously improving. All other values of our business are supported by our drive.
We are trying to improve the way the world builds software, we must show and shepherd others in how to do this as well. While this goal seems extremely large and unattainable, we cannot discount the effect that sharing what we’ve learned will have on others. Sparking interest in Test Driven Development with someone at a conference can lead to them spearheading a larger effort at their own company. Showing others how to get better at implementing solutions with a high level of quality may result in a multitude of companies that these people work at focusing on improving how they build software. We may be small in number but do not underestimate the impact that we can have by sharing better ways to build software.
Understanding the perspective of those who maintain our software, use it on a daily basis, and operate businesses we work for is key in understanding the best approach to take with their software. We need to share the mindset of our teammates, users, product owners, stakeholders and clients if we want to do what is truly best for them. Putting the priorities of others ahead of our own, often leads to greater happiness and fulfillment of all.
These values reflect the double agents currently employed at Test Double and the type of agents we want to hire in the future. If you think you line up pretty well with our purpose and values, please don’t hesitate to apply here