It isn’t often that you hear a term that resonates with you deeply.
Recently, we heard the term ‘centre of excellence’, and it made us sit up straighter in our seats. This is a phrase that’s common within the business world, but has also been used in a variety of applications throughout academia, the military, healthcare, manufacturing, and many more. It often refers to a physical location, but more importantly, is used to recognize an organization that has dedicated itself to equipping and training its teams in a thoughtful and intentional way.
Essentially, a centre of excellence is an institution or a set of practices designed to pursue excellence in a particular area. The ultimate goal of a centre of excellence is to bring together people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, using a shared set of facilities or resources. You can find centres of excellence all over the world.
One organization that has used the centre of excellence model again and again is the United States Army. They operate a variety of centres of excellence all over the United States, all of which are focused on different concepts. For example, there’s an Aviation Centre of Excellence in Fort Rucker, Alabama, and a Medical Centre of Excellence located at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.
However, it isn’t only governments or government agencies that have dedicated themselves to building centres of excellence. By thinking about training and team management intentionally, businesses and private organizations can build their own centres of excellence and offer both staff and clients an improved experience across the board.
At SimplyPHP, we’ve used the centre of excellence model to design and organize our operations in a way that best serves our staff. By putting our staff at the very centre of our operations, our intention is to design a system that facilitates their growth and success. By equipping staff well, we can assist in their long-term growth, build stronger teams, and ultimately improve the service that we offer to our clients.
The easiest way to explain our centre of excellence model is to use this diagram. As you can see, the SimplyPHP developer is at the centre of the model. Surrounding them are six different pillars of support that are designed to ensure their success.
AWS Architecture Support: Our dedicated AWS architecture support experts are always available to our developers. Sometimes they assist with pre-built elements, while other times they’re just there for troubleshooting or technical support.
Project Management: At SimplyPHP, we’ve got a fantastic project management team on board. Our floating project managers spend their days facilitating peer support, improving client relationships, and setting goals for our teams to ensure that projects are finished on time and under budget.
Resource Backup: Putting any developer into a situation where they’re the only person with specific technical knowledge on a project is a recipe for disaster. To help support the needs of our clients and developers, we’ve implemented a secure, failproof system for resource backups that gives developers support and ensures that our clients will never be put in a situation where a car accident or illness can derail their project.
Version Control Best Practices: As a company policy, we now ensure that all our clients have a minimum of version control. By implementing best practices for version control, we are mitigating risk by helping our developers ensure that they will never lose code or have an entire day’s work lost or rewritten.
Cloud Infrastructure: Not every developer has advanced server or infrastructure knowledge. We’ve worked very hard to provide this infrastructure to our developers, so they can plug in their code and start doing what they’re really good at, without having to worry about learning new skills.
Peer Support: This pillar helps our developers feel confident that there’s always someone they can turn to for support, encouragement, or to help troubleshoot a stubborn issue. We facilitate these connections by putting our developers into small peer pods and making senior developers available at all times. This increased communication and collaboration supports our developers as they grow their skills and offers our clients a greater pool of talent to help ensure the success of their projects.
Each area contributes to our developers’ successes in their own way. As we grow, we will continue to develop these pillars and add to them to ensure our developers are supported in a way that allows them to offer their best work to their peers, our company, and our clients.