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The Mobile Team Study Group

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Mobile Development Group Study Group (Huang)

I am Huang, an Android app developer from the KINTO Technologies Mobile Development Group. In this article, I want to talk about the study group we starteed in the Mobile Development Group at KINTO Technologies.

A source of team culture

When it comes to software development, I think the first thing you need is a culture of sharing. There are many advantages to sharing information with lots of people, but the biggest is being able to reflect the knowledge and views of people with various perspectives. This not only reduces project risks, but also helps us gain new information.

Do we really need a study group?

Given how busy we all are with coding, do we really need a skill-sharing study group? There's a tendency to think this way, but the two decades since the dot-com bubble have seen the software industry grow in scale and sophistication extremely rapidly, and development become much more technically complex as well. So, as the scope of software development skills and the knowledge required increases, it's becoming vital to have a development culture that's conducive to sharing information and skills so that people can make decisions and communicate efficiently.

Problems to solve

I'd been finding it difficult to learn about other areas since joining the company, because I'd always been concentrating on one project. Then, I remembered how in my previous job, I'd gained a variety of new technical insights through a study group. So, I decided to start one up here. People can only spend a limited amount of time on studying, and studying with other members is more efficient than doing it alone.

What we want to achieve

As a culture of skill sharing develops, the members of the organization will grow more quickly, enabling them to contribute to multiple technical communities. This in turn will help the company develop into one where good human resources can grow.

Forming a culture of skill sharing

Our Mobile Team's study group consists of team members from the API Team, the Android Team, and the iOS Team. Basically, every week, we all take turns to give presentations about our own know-how, technical trends we're interested in, and skills we're currently learning up on. At the end of each presentation, we set aside time for everyone to exchange views and ask questions with a positive and open attitude.

Also, if there's a particular skill, etc. you want to know more about, you can post a message on the bulletin board so someone with the right know-how can help. All Mobile Team engineers get to learn about having a skill-sharing culture through the study group after they join the company.

The form of the study group is like this:

  1. Free topics (areas you're interested in).
  2. Ideas are shared every Thursday.
  3. About 20 participants.
  4. The participants take turns to be the facilitator.
  5. The details of the presentations are shared on Confluence.

Are we heading in the right direction?

Over the course of doing the study group for a year, I noticed a few things that should be kept in mind.

  1. Problem: The study group is a project with a very large number of participants. We weren't sure if we were heading in the right direction, and we needed a way to boost its activity even further.
  2. Try: When a problem arises, we all get together and have a meeting to get a picture of the goals, consolidate our ideas, and see if they'll work.

Everyone plays a leading role in creating our study group and development culture, by thinking about whether we're doing things right and whether we're understanding and communicating with each other properly.

Investing in information sharing within the company

The Mobile Team study group uses Confluence as a document management system for sharing information within the company. The study group members use Confluence to create and organize various documents about the skills they know themselves and things they need for their work.

I think an in-house document system like Confluence plays a crucial role when it comes to sharing information within the company smoothly.

For this reason, the Mobile Team is steadily creating study group-related content in Confluence so that other team members can use the document system more efficiently when searching for knowledge they need.

What we want to try

Support for presenters from other companies

There aren't many mobility service companies in Japan, so we're striving to give presentations on and share examples of good practices through technology conferences and within the community. We want to make them events where we can share our in-house development culture, skills, know-how, and the like with developers from other companies.

In conclusion

Most developers want a good development culture. For that, I think a good culture will have the following:

  1. Core values:
    A culture where people understand the core values of the services, share knowledge with each other, and are proactive about developing the core skills.

  2. DevOps:
    A culture where people understand that code review and testing are necessary if you want to achieve short development cycles, fault tolerance, and high-quality code.

  3. Professionalism:
    A culture where everyone has a sense of responsibility when it comes to results, takes pride in their work, and can improve each other's levels of expertise. In fact, it'll take a fair amount of time and effort to steadily continue skill-sharing activities and establish a culture like this, but in a team that has a good development culture, the team members will be able to share problems they encounter during development and use their know-how to come up with solutions. And as a result, they'll be able to cut down on trial and error, and ultimately provide the best possible services. We firmly believe that establishing a culture like this is essential if the company and its members are to keep on growing.

The Mobile Team will continue to engage with developers from other companies in a variety of ways. I think it's worthwhile to hold Mobile Team study group meetings, and through them, pursue a development culture where everyone shares their skills and grows together.

If you'd like to study with us, feel free to contact us anytime.

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