I’m not a developer. I have managed a team of developers, partnered with them and employed a few in previous ventures. One thing is certain, developers see the world differently than us “business types” and that can be a very good thing.
Steve Johnson of Pragamatic Marketing‘s presentation (see below) at Business of Software offers direct insight into a developer’s work struggles. His points border on the edge of pessimism, but I can attest many of them are very real. If you’re on the business (especially sales) side of a company you may want to initially resist his points and humorous digs directed at non-tech roles and actions. However, Steve hit on several points that are worth highlighting.
- There is a perceived and sometimes real divide between your technology group and the the rest of the company. Specifically, between those selling, supporting and building the product.
- Communication reigns supreme. Many of Steve’s issues could be resolved with better communication (i.e. – give the dev team access to all parties involved).
- Even if you don’t assign a project manager/leader… someone is still doing it.
- Software/product development cycles don’t have to be adversarial, but it does require time.
- Salespeople need to consult the dev team BEFORE making promises to clients.
- Developers understand quantitative data. Show them the numbers or dollars for feature requests not one solitary prospect’s wish list.
I realize an hour is a long time to watch a video online, but if you work or plan on working with developers it’s worth some review. Steve also has some helpful files on product frameworks and gap analysis.