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On The Care and Feeding of Developers

Lucia Mancuso, 29 October, 2009 0 Comments

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

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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