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Want An Inclusive Tech Culture? Build It With This Cornerstone

Over here at Better Allies, we’re collecting stories. About software teams who have made simple changes towards a more inclusive culture. It could be a tweak to daily standups. Or new Slack loading messages that remind the team how to be better allies. Or, as you’ll see below, a way to include more experiences and perspectives in the design process.

Photo of a napkin with a diagram showing “The Same Old Thinking” leads to the “The Same Old Results”

The tech industry prides itself on being disruptive. Innovative products. Game-changing advances. New solutions that impel us to shed the old.

Behind the scenes, disruption also happens, as development teams improve how they build and ship products. Waterfall becomes agile. Lengthy project plans turn into sprints. Monolithic releases morph into subscriptions with frequent updates. Email communication moves to Slack.

We’re also seeing innovation in development practices to create a more inclusive workplace culture. Like how the Pivotal Tracker team added an “Inclusion Thing of the Week” to their daily standups. And they’re not the only ones.

Today, we’re excited to tell you about another approach. This one’s from the team at Amplitude.

The other day, we spoke with Nisha Dwivedi, who leads the Sales Engineering team at Amplitude. She’s also responsible for their Diversity & Inclusion initiative.

One of their core tenets is feedback. And as Nisha pointed out, feedback is a neutral way of talking about inclusion. About including all voices in the product development process. About hearing a variety of ideas and concerns that will help make their products better.

To gather feedback, they use a two-pronged approach of tools and encouragement. Here’s what it looks like.

The product and design teams use InVision to mock up their releases. Not only does this tool help them create prototypes, it makes it easy for other teams to provide feedback. Teams like sales engineering, customer experience, and others.

Sure, they could hold a weekly meeting to gather feedback. But a meeting wouldn’t be accessible to their global workforce. Nor would it necessarily be a safe place to raise concerns.

The tool is key. As Nisha said, “If the barrier to entry is low, it encourages participation.”

Leaders also play a critical role. They showcase examples where feedback has improved the product. They ask employees to get involved and question the status quo. They emphasize that everyone can give feedback on the product, even if it’s not part of your official role.

At Amplitude, feedback is not only welcome, it’s a cornerstone for building an inclusive culture.

How is your product team creating a more inclusive culture? We’d like to feature your story next. Shoot us an email to start the conversation.

Becoming an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference.