Everybody loves a great adventure. From Dorothy’s travels along the Yellow Brick Road to Frodo’s eventful journey through Middle-earth, we are excited and enthralled by notions of exploration. Humans are a naturally inquisitive species. So, we get distracted, spend our attention on non-urgent matters, while away our time gazing at the skies, and wander off the trodden path. Although these activities may seem a waste of time from a purely survival-driven perspective, the desire for mental and physical discovery is an essential trait that has allowed our kind to progress by leaps and bounds.
There and Back Again
There is a scientific and evolutionary basis for our interest in seemingly extraneous information. In our complex and rapidly transforming world, there is no way we could truly know which tidbit of knowledge would come in handy later. Hence, our brains have been programmed to meander, explore, and investigate, all the while collecting random information that may prove useful in the future. In short, humans are the ultimate learning machines and we have been trained to appreciate not only the final destination but the entire expedition.
When compared to non-human primates, humans exhibit stronger neoteny or the retention of juvenile traits into adulthood. This means that we never lose our child-like curiosity and playfulness. It also enables us to keep learning throughout our lives, alter our ways of thinking, and pick up fresh skills as we adapt to different circumstances. For some, this could be perfecting the recipe for a pot pie. For others, it could be inventing an intergalactic network of computers that would later develop into the Internet.
As humans, we are so attached to the concept and journey of exploration that it permeates many forms of our recreation. From old-school computer games like Civilization to iconic TV series like Lost, we love the idea of uncharted frontiers and building something from nothing. Whether we care to admit it or not, we all carry an attraction for adventure in our DNA. So much so that groups of people with the same interests often gather together to take on challenges, such as mountain climbing, as a team. Hence, teamwork, another important human capability, comes into play.
Journeys in the Digital Earth
Research has shown that cooperation and teamwork were significant factors that led to our species having larger brain sizes and greater intelligence. While there have been many solo explorers and inventors in history, a majority of humanity’s successes have come from the concerted efforts of a dedicated team—even if they are not all acknowledged at the end. It is no different in our world today. In fact, the prolific industry of software development could be said to be an ideal representation of our best evolutionary traits.
Software development is a perpetually progressing field that is always in flux. A popular platform or programming language may be the standard one day and outdated the next. (Okay, maybe the next month, but you get my drift.) Needs and goalposts may shift throughout the software development process and unforeseen obstacles could occur, impacting plans, timelines, and budgets. Much like the settlers or explorers that we love to dream about, software developers need to always be on their game and ready to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.
Having a reliable team is a critical asset for those who look to confront a new frontier. Remember in dystopian movies where there is always a selfish person who runs away with the weapons and someone who always panics and screams a lot? None of those people, please! The confidence of team members and their synergy is essential in determining how they react during the software development process. A robust development team should consist of members who can maintain an open mind and find fulfillment in facing and overcoming challenges.
As decentralized workplaces and remote working arrangements have become a norm due to the pandemic, teams that are situated in the same building have a clear advantage. Digital communication technology has improved a lot in the past two years but a face on a screen is still not an adequate substitute for the nuances of physical contact. For clients who are looking to build custom software in North Carolina, the ability to meet and engage the entire team brings with it the benefits of subtle nonverbal communication that can help finetune project briefs and plans. Having team members under one roof also improves communication efficiency, problem-solving capacity, and enhances the camaraderie necessary for achieving success.
From conceptualization and research, planning and prototyping, to development, testing, and deployment, there are a myriad of milestones in the software development process. The beauty of the journey is watching the product as it evolves and expands to finally become the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it certainly gave us the boldness and creativity to enjoy the journey of invention. By combining their imagination with agile adaptability and cooperation, software developers can continue to explore and achieve great heights.