How to Manage Your Software Development Team​

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This is a common issue for any business trying to get their web or mobile app right with developers, where they feel there is a disconnect between what they want accomplished and what they are given. The truth is, they do listen. They just may not communicate in the same way. Software developers, just like many other professional industries, seem to speak a different language than the business side you may be used to. If you take someone with a PHD in Biology and another with a PHD in Chemistry and put them in the same room, their understanding would be limited even though they both deal with science. Much like the differences in knowledge gained in each grade of school, there are levels to our knowledge base that can make communication between even the most intelligent people near impossible. It can be the same between software developers and business minded entrepreneurs.

This makes working with software developers a frustrating proposition for anyone who wants to see their idea leave their mental arena and join the physical space. Whether you need a mobile app, web app, or a multifunctional website, it is very easy for mistakes to be made as information gets lost in translation. For the business side, this can cause financial and budgeting issues. Before you know it, the tech side and the business side can reach such a critical impasse that the idea has to be scrapped, restarted, or majorly overhauled. So how do you avoid these pitfalls and bring your project to fruition in a timely and productive manner?

There is a better way.

Understand How They Think

Just having an idea is not the same as having the framework necessary to complete the project. If you have an idea to build an amazing house, you can’t just go to the construction workers and tell them you want an amazing house built. They need a plan in order to execute your idea. They want to help you because that is how they get paid, but first they need the blueprints. Their first impulse is to build EXACTLY what you want without using their own creativity and knowledge of their craft to create a better way forward. Most software developers are use to receiving the full technical documents required to build something. Whether that is designs, wireframes, business logic or anything else, they need to be able to envision the full picture in order to take the steps needed to accomplish your goal. More than likely, you have not given them everything they need (but how would you know what they need?). Think back to when you were young (or not so young) and playing with Legos. It was almost impossible to build the structure on the box just by looking at the picture. You needed the directions and even then it wasn’t always an easy task. In the simplest form, Software development follows this analogy. If you continually try to force a square peg into a round hole, you will continually get the same result every time.

Don’t Insult Their Intelligence

Later on in his career, Michelangelo would create quick sketches for people who loved his work and charge them a high price. Every once in a while, they would ask why he was charging so much for something that took him so little time. The fact of the matter is, it actually has taken him his entire life to create those sketches. He had sacrificed an incredible amount of time to reach the level where he could create such art so quickly and he deserved to be paid for all of that time. Software developers take pride in their work because they realize what it took for them to get to that point. If a developer isn’t making what you want, it is more likely a miscommunication than a lack of ability or intelligence.

Know the difference between Design and Development

Most developers are more impressed with the beauty and complexity of the code they have written than the design. You wouldn’t ask an architect to swing the hammer, nor would you ask the construction worker to draw up the designs. A brilliant coder and a brilliant designer are not the same thing. You may find an individual who has excellent design and coding ability, but this is rare. Let the designers design and let the coders code.

Be Patient, but Persistent

This can be the hardest part as the aforementioned pressures of deadlines and budgets start moving in, but it cannot be neglected. You must realize just as you are being patient with them, they are being patient with you as well. If you had as solid a grasp on the technical aspect of things as they did, you could communicate properly therefore eliminating miscommunication. Take a company like Google that has many different groups working on various aspects of design for every project from the simplest to the most complex. Even they miss deadlines from time to time. The time and patience required to coordinate a successful technical project can be truly staggering, yet it happens every day.

Unfortunately in this industry, many people are being taken advantage of. A patient entrepreneur without the expertise or visibility to see into the code of their project is ripe to be over-billed, even with missed deadlines. Patience and persistence are key when setting deadlines and holding the development team to those deadlines.

If you think you are being taken advantage of or you need someone to be “the tech guy you can trust”, Seavers Projects can help. We provide technical leadership to help companies efficiently build web or mobile applications. Like a construction foreman for your software project, we hire and manage a team of software developers that work for you. We are your fractional Chief Technology Officer (CTO), but at half the cost. You can contact us at http://www.seavers.io/contact.

© 2018 Seavers Projects. Trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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