The rate of advancement in technology in recent years has been staggering, and the tech departments of many companies deal with near-constant evolution. Often, software and hardware are updated so regularly that systems that are less than five years old are already outdated.
So how can the leadership of a company’s tech department ensure team members stay ahead of the curve? To help, 11 members of Forbes Technology Council offer suggestions for tech leaders who want to ensure that their teams are always on the cutting edge of technology and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Create A Culture Of Continuous Team Development
Everyone working in tech knows that keeping up with new trends is the only way to remain competitive, but it’s a leader’s job to boost and direct this motivation. To foster a continuous team development (CTD) culture, go beyond ongoing training programs and incentivize people to not only develop their own abilities but also to teach and learn from their colleagues. A team growth mindset will keep you ahead of everything. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev
2. Provide The Vision Before The Education
The CTO needs to understand the strategic direction of the business and how to support it with technology. If you’re in the dairy industry, that’s very different from working at Amazon. If the tech leader understands what kind of technology will create a strategic advantage for the company, they can provide the education or support the team by hiring people with the right skills. – Vaclav Vincalek, Pacific Coast Information Systems (PCIS) Ltd.
3. Get Certified And Stay Curious
We encourage our development teams to acquire and maintain certifications for the platforms and tools they use. In fact, because we want our customers to know they’re getting the most skilled and qualified resources for their project, it’s become more of a mandate. Another must? We want team members to stay curious about the tech world in which they work—which they tend to do on their own. – John McDonald, ClearObject
4. Create A Learning Environment
The best approach for ensuring that your people are up to date is to encourage opportunities for team members to participate in relevant conferences, promote online courses for professional development, create time for employees to hands-on experiment with new technologies, and to host internal innovation events where participants can investigate new ideas outside of their usual teams. – Claus Jepsen, Unit4
5. Attend Security Tech Events
We develop proprietary threat-modeling software, so we ensure our staff stays current with the latest technology trends, with a focus on cybersecurity. We sponsor hosted booths at technology conferences such as BlackHat and AWS Re:Inforce. We will also host a sponsored booth at AWS Re:Invent. As an advanced technology partner with AWS, we attend regular events and webinars. – Archie Agarwal, ThreatModeler Software, Inc.
6. Provide Access To Online Training Courses
Making your team aware of the tools and courses available to them and then specifically suggesting which ones you think they should take for the betterment of their position would go a long way in keeping their skills and knowledge up to date. Motivation from the team is vital to empower people to feel like it matters and make each other accountable. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales
7. Stay Close To The Market
Our entire company is technology-focused. I encourage the team to stay close to the market every day. The most valuable information in our company is a use case a customer told us about, a request from a prospect or a new underlying need we hear about. These help us understand what really matters to customers, which then helps us focus technology on customer success rather than the latest buzz. – Guy Yalif, Intellimize
8. Keep In Touch With Your Community
The tech industry moves fast, so it’s imperative to stay on top of changes coming through the pipeline. Like many others, my team relies on tech news and developer blogs to stay up to date. We also frequently attend events and roundtable gatherings to learn about what industry leaders are up to and what changes are on the horizon. This is often information that hasn’t hit any publication yet. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
9. Encourage Collaboration
Our team stays ahead of the latest trends by always networking, reading, and attending and participating in industry trade shows. A few members of our team are widely regarded as thought leaders in their respective areas, so they share any new information with the rest of the team so they are up to speed. Technology is always changing—if you’re not learning and participating, you’ll be left behind. – Robert Morcos, Social Mobile
10. Prioritize Quick Iteration Over Perfection
Building a culture that embraces learning and growth can ultimately push your tech department to new frontiers and innovations. Founders who fear failure may be reluctant to open their company to essential feedback in the early, essential stages of a new business. If rapid iteration paves the way to eventually discovering new solutions, then it is an idea worth introducing to your tech department. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management
11. Build Partnerships With Experts
It’s a well-known fact that more than half of IT teams operate understaffed and often overworked. My staff and I learned early that, because of that alone, we cannot possibly stay ahead of every technology trend. However, when we partner with the right experts and follow a cadence that includes educating the staff on what to be aware of, we are collectively better for it. – Joshua Ferry, CloudInsyte