The value of diversity in an agile environment

There is much talk about diversity in the software development field and in the tech industry in general, and yet most teams and organizations comprise mostly a single cultural group. The dominant group may be 20- and 30-something white males, as is common in Silicon Valley, or some other culturally homogenous group, such as H1B holders from the same country, as is common in large corporations. 

When nearly everyone in an organization has the same general worldview, problem-solving approach, educational background, life experience, and so forth, the organization tends to suffer from groupthink - they can only conceive of a single approach to achieving a goal or solving a problem. When faced with a unique challenge or an unexpected change in circumstances, such an organization often has great difficulty.

In contrast, a diverse organization can bring to bear a variety of perspectives, experiences, collaboration styles, and problem-solving approaches. The rich blend of differences enables the organization to adapt to change and to overcome unexpected challenges creatively and flexibly. How can we build a more diverse workforce in the software development field?

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Talk followed by discussion

  1. The problems caused by groupthink
  2. What leads to homogeneous teams/groups that suffer from groupthink?
    1. HR hiring profiles
    2. Boy's club culture in the tech field
    3. Hiring masses of inexpensive H1B workers
    4. Hiring people who resemble their interviewers
  3. Definitions of "diversity"
    1. General
    2. Workplace
  4. Characteristics of diverse work groups
  5. Business advantages of diverse work groups
  6. Recruiting ideas
  7. Interviewing Ideas

Learning Outcome

1. Clear connection between diversity and business value

2. Difference between general definition of "diversity" (inclusion of under-represented groups) and business definition (a range of different styles of collaboration, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict-resolution, and action)

3. Characteristics of diverse work groups

4. Business value of diverse work groups

5. Implications for recruiting

6. Implications for interviewing and selecting candidates

Target Audience

Anyone interested in diversity in the workplace

schedule Submitted 11 months ago

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