Why diversity is so important for your software product success

I have seen manifestations about diversity more and more often. I’m not much of watching TV, but sometime ago I ended up watching Globo TV, the main open TV network in Brazil. I was able to catch the final part of Jornal Nacional, the main TV news in Brazil, and the beginning of the soap opera. During Jornal Nacional there was a news piece about PUC, an univesity at São Paulo, inaugurating unisex bathrooms (link in Portuguese), remembering that PUC is an university linked to the Catholic religion. After that, during the soap opera there was a scene where an actress who was telling her parents and family that she was born in the wrong body, that she was a man who had been born in a woman’s body, that is, she was a transgender. Then, during the break, came the Globo campaign entitled “Everything Begins with Respect” about respect for gender identity (video and text in Portuguese):

That’s really good! Accepting and respecting differences is the basis for evolving as a society and building an ever better future for ourselves, our children and all of humanity.

When there is a lack of respect and the ability to accept diversity, very bad situations can happen, such as parents rejecting their own child. I was very impressed when I read an article by Daniela Andrade, a senior consultant at ThoughtWorks, where she says:

How I got kicked out of my parents’ house because I’m a transsexual — and here I say that the first great violence we suffer is in the house — I have not had relatives to count on in times of need for many years, they all turned their backs on me.

How can parents reject their own daughter? I am a father and I know how parenting love is very intense, capable of overcoming any problem so that we can always help and support our children. I was talking to my wife the other day about this story and about the difficulty people have in accepting the differences, to the point of having parents rejecting their own children. It was at that moment that my wife said a phrase that struck me. She said that ultimately, all people are different. Transgender, heterosexual, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, black, white, yellow, young, adult, middle-aged, Brazilian, Canadian, French, Vietnamese, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Belo Horizonte , cyclist, swimmer, engineer, architect, lawyer, who likes pop music, rock, jazz, classical and so on. Even identical twins are different.

If all people are different, accepting and respecting differences is not only desirable, it is necessary and mandatory for us to live in society in a more harmonious and sustainable way. They are values that should be taught to all people from the cradle.

And what diversity has to do with software product management?

  • Diversity brings new points of view. Having a more diverse product development team brings new insights and new ways of thinking, which will help you develop a better product. It is no wonder that the product development team is made up of software engineers, user experience designers and product managers. Each one has a different perspective of what a good product is and these differences, when well worked out by the team, are what help create a better product.
  • Just as the customer group that uses your software is diverse, so should your team. Usually the software product development teams are composed mostly by men, but the population that will use the software is more diverse. In both ContaAzul and Locaweb, 88% of the team is composed of men. To illustrate this point better, imagine a typically feminine product, for example, a party dress being developed by a men’s only team. It will be skewed, with features more important to men. Now imagine if it was developed by a women-only team. It would also be biased, with only the point of view of women. Even products that will be used by a less diverse audience, as in this example of a product made for the female audience, will benefit from having a team composed of women and men.
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That is the reason why it is so important to the success of your product to reflect and talk about diversity. Only then you can think of issues so essential to the success of your product. How to improve the diversity of your product development team? How do you foster discussions that bring different points of view and help you see your product from new angles and the problems it helps solve?

Lean Product Secrets

The thing is, two of these E-Books are in the way to their printed edition, so they won´t stay available as E-Books on LeanPub for much longer. So we decided to create a special bundle price to let you keep a copy of these E-Books.

We will keep updating the E-Books until they are officially released. This way you will have early access to their official first edition releases. Enjoy it:

https://leanpub.com/b/leanproductsecrets

Written by

Digital product development advisor, mentor, board member. And open water swimmer!

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