When our teams formulate policy, a question that often hovers in the room - "is the industry-standard approach necessarily the right one?". The conventional might be the easiest to build consensus on, but is not always the best. This is particularly true when seen in the light of the state of the retail industry, which is experiencing tumultuous change. Also, the norms in the IT services industry were set decades ago, in the age of large waterfall-style projects. Do the old rules still apply? We are therefore democratic by design, allowing teams to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances. The results could be unconventional, but if it works, we don't let tradition override what empirical data on what works.
Litmus7's dollar one program incents every developer to propose ideas that directly affect the retailer's topline or bottom line. IT service vendors' reluctance to go beyond order taking is a widespread problem that Litmus7 has taken some very specific steps to address. We train our technical workforce to grasp the broader context in which programming happens. But this isn't about hard skills alone. We conduct soft skills training to equip even the most reticent developer to open up and point the client to possible interventions that could generate value. We have an internal process to vet ideas, present them in a client-ready form, and trace an ideas' journey from inception to deployment.
The ideal technical professional serving the Fortune 500 retailer is a polyglot, full-stack developer who also understands the broad principles of design, the customer journey, and industry trends. Such a professional is hard to find and harder to keep. What has worked for us is a history of employing seasoned professionals who combine deep specialization with an ability to grasp new areas. Our first 50 employees fitted that description. They have since specifically scouted for candidates such as themselves. What makes such professionals choose us for the long haul (our attrition rate is 5%) is our openness and the ability to straddle multiple areas, including IP development for which we have a dedicated unit. In summary, our approach to talent is very different from assembly-line model of our competitors.