Developers. Those mysterious folks hiding behind the dual monitors, drinking Mountain Dew and performing mysterious functions we can’t comprehend. They’re the backbone of the modern way we do business. It can be a challenge effectively communicating with developers on a project. Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to manage someone who’s performing a task you may not fully comprehend yourself. Here’s a few guidelines that will help your projects run smoothly from beginning to end, and make your developers love you.
1. Get it all out in the beginning – Let your developer know the features and functionality you’re looking to create right from the beginning. It’s much easier to set the course correctly in the beginning, than it is to change directions midt-sream. Clarifying objectives in the beginning, allows for planning the big picture, so dropping in new ideas at later stages in the project can really slow things down.
2. Answer the phone – There will be times that your developer needs clarification, or wants to check a specific detail with you. It’s possible they can’t continue working on your project until you provide this information, so being prompt about providing the data they need will keep your project rolling along.
3. It’s a bad idea… – You may have a great idea, that your developer shoots down. There’s probably a good reason for this. Listen to them, they’re probably saving you from making a big mistake, or helping you avoid a problem down the line. Are developers infallible? No, but if you don’t trust their judgement you should be working with someone else.
4. Fast or Good – Deadlines are always a sticking point. Everyone wants their project completed as quickly as possible. The reality is that good work takes time. It’s important to create a development schedule that is realistic for your needs, and also for the developers schedule. They may have other projects, and every developer hates rushing.
5. Detail problems – At various points during the development cycle, you’ll run into snags, bugs and corrections you need fixed. The key here is to provide as much detail about the problem as you possible can. Don’t just send an email stating, ‘Hey, something is broken on this page.’ Send a clear description of the problem, including links, screenshots, the operating system and browser, and anything else that seems relevant. You can’t provide too much information in this situation. Most importantly, explain how the function should work when it’s operating correctly. Your devs will love you for this.
Clear communication, and speaking the language of development is what will make your project launch on time with minimal hassles. We also hear bribes, including micro-brews, ergonomic chairs and Warcraft gift cards are effective at solving problems. Remember, your developer can only work as hard as you let them.
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