Building Spaces and Culture for Innovation within Software Factories
When you think of traditional offices, your first image is of long rooms filled with people typing away in their isolated cubicles. When you imagine a government facility, you envision military bases or Federal buildings filled with people in uniform, strong security, and people following orders given by their chain of command.
However, what do you envision when thinking of a startup or a cutting-edge company? What does their space look like? I think of Google or Uber. Offices that don’t really feel or look like offices. They have open spaces, large desks, amenities like comfortable and informal meeting spaces, and access to food on-site. The people are collaborating in every nook, to build the next generation of solutions.
The spaces we create, help to create the culture within them.
Software Factories are the embodiment of that exact mission. Software Factories rely on being agile and diverse to drive innovation to meet the needs of the warfighter by blending government missions with startup culture. Software Factories blend teams of Military and civilian personnel to work together outside of traditional government facilities to develop. In order to build next-generation solutions within these new environments, these teams rely on a strong culture of collaboration, innovation, inclusion, and adaptability.
How do you build a Software Factory to embody and reflect this culture? There are four core elements to bring this vision to life.
As with any government mission, security is at the forefront. You must ensure that the people, the information, and the facility are secure from potential threats.
Creating a secure Software Factory begins with picking a facility location. Facilities need to be in discrete locations that allow team members to travel easily to and from without hesitation. Also, the facility needs to be outfitted with access-controlled locks, cameras, and more to create peace of mind.
After securing the building, comes securing the information and technology within them. This includes setting up secure network capabilities, secure Wi-Fi connections, secure communication pipelines, and potentially SCIFs.
2. Workspaces & Amenities
To achieve the mission of a collaborative space for the output of the best ideas, you need to attract and retain the best talent. You can build a collaborative workplace by creating a space with large workspaces with all the necessary technology in open floor plans with no walls or cubicles separating team members.
Collaborative spaces with amenities such as facility cleaning services, access to snacks and food on-site, and making informal meeting spaces and more, encourage team members to want to work and stay a part of the innovation team.
3. Workplace Guidelines
The key to building culture is workplace guidelines. Within Software Factories a key element to promote collaboration is the removal of uniforms, all team members wear business casual attire including all military members. By removing the representation of rank through uniforms, it allows people to discuss their ideas freely without hesitation of respect to hierarchy. In addition, within these spaces by streamlining Technology sharing and updates through our ToolChain as a Service capability, members are always access to team tools and software.
In the past year, we have all learned how vital it is to be adaptable to change. When creating these spaces, it is vital to be prepared to overcome any unforeseen challenges. Implementation of the proper technology channels can allow security on-site or remote and security against current and future threats. Implementation of open flow workspaces allows people to change workspaces or orientations of furniture to meet the changing needs of the mission. The adaptability of the space and the technology allow the team to keep operating regardless of the impending changes that can occur.
Software Factories require solutions to unique challenges, unseen in other parts of the Federal Sector. By implementing spaces that are adaptable, attractive to talent, drive collaboration, and ensure security, Software Factories can thrive to meet mission success.
Author: Victoria Robinson | Marketing Manager