Building Trust with Developers: Overcoming the Technology Language Barrier

Building Trust with Developers: Overcoming the Technology Language Barrier

September 7, 2016

Unless you are as skilled at programming as you are at business, going from idea to execution

will require you to collaborate with software developers. Crossing this bridge relies on your

ability to plan on your own, openly communicate your needs, and explore tools that can help

you in the process.

 

Start by planning your features as well as planning to change them. One of the common themes

we see over and over again is that successful business are those that start with a promising

idea but are also flexible enough to pivot when necessary. This principle, the ability to be agile,

should be anticipated in advance as part of the methodology used to communicate with

developers. Before you have a conversation with developers about features, you may want to

group them according to your priorities. One example of this type of grouping may be

“absolutely essential, “good to have” and “extras.”

 

 

 

During the initial conversation with developers, explaining the purpose of necessary features is

just as essential as mapping them out. Try to define what you need to achieve, the end goal,

and your constraints without prescribing the solution. Through the conversation you will begin to

learn which features take a long time for development and which require shorter time frames.

Also, you may receive useful feedback as to modifications that might decrease the difficulty of

implementation and reduce costs while reaching the same objectives.

 

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DID YOU KNOW?

“While more than half of companies recognize that effective software development is crucial to

achieving competitive advantage, only a quarter are effective today.”

-The Software Edge, IBM Institute

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Setting milestones for developers will help the project stay on track. Defining scope, priority,

and dates at this stage is a good way to go. Project management tools such as Base Camp

can help you chart your timeframes and can even calculate expected delays should you miss

your deadlines. One suggested working relationship is to offer developers compensation for

their work according to the completion of a milestone so they have clear goals and do not wait

until the end of development. Set projects to be revisited, consisting of "iterations" that allow for changes over short periods of time. This type of thinking will not only assist your communication

with developers, but also help with setting priorities.

 

Other than talking and writing, you may want to use visual tools to communicate your message.

User Interface (UI) might be the best tool to create a common language used by developers,

business people, and designers. Using UI, it is possible to translate where the data should be

located and in what format. To assist, sketching or flowcharts are helpful tools. You do not need

to be a designer or have any artistic aspirations in order to sketch. The goal of sketching is to

generate ideas with less risk. Keep in mind not to judge the ideas as good or bad while

sketching them out but just continue to generate them. Next, for applications that require web

pages screens, you can explore wireframes and prototypes.

 

A few last tips:

● Ask questions often, offer solutions seldom

● Do not micromanage

● Prevent ‘Feature Creep’ by taking a good look at the features you suggest and

making sure you need them all

 

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Incentive Management Inc.
Ariel University Center of Samaria Upper Campus, Building 10 
+972 (0)3 908 5000
+972 (0)3 936 6873
Incentive, Peregrine Ventures Incubator 

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