Are Your Dev Team’s Delays Legit?
Most people have heard of the dot-com bubble, but many people don’t realize the extent of the impact it had on regular companies. As venture capitalists were busily throwing all their money at dot-com start-ups, ordinary companies were dreaming up ways that they could get in on the action.
Jul 2019 - 4 minutes read
They came to the logical conclusion that the only way to share in the profits of the internet explosion was to build their own websites and develop other web-based tools. After all, if Pets.com was so successful, surely they could build something comparable.
This led to a boom of companies hiring in-house developers. Not only were they hiring for a role that they didn’t understand, they were unable to communicate their needs to their new employees. There were tons of non-technical managers hiring for very technical positions, and it didn’t always end well.
Although many of these developers tried their best to communicate with their new managers, a small percentage used the ignorance of their new employers to their advantage, providing inferior work and giving excuse after excuse for their delays.
Fortunately, many of us have learned from this experience. Being trusting and having faith in your employees is an admirable quality, but if you don’t understand what your team is doing, you’re not going to be a great manager. You need to be able to understand your employees’ roles in order to tell if their delays are legit, or just a stalling tactic.
How to Know If Your Dev Team’s Delays Are Legit
There are lots of ways that you can tell if your dev team’s delays are legit, or not. A good web developer will come prepared to meetings. They will welcome regular check-ins and accountability measures that you put in place. They should also ask lots of questions- that’s the only way that they’ll know what you want.
Ultimately, a development team just wants to be trusted, and to work in an environment where they can do good work. Successful teams aren’t micromanaged- they’re given freedom to be creative and problem solve on their own. Clear directives, and a superior that understands their work are key to their success.
If they seem to chafe at any kind of managerial oversight, and don’t want to communicate with other departments, their inevitable delays might be made up.
Great web developers are able to anticipate most roadblocks and delays, and should make you aware of them. If something comes up, a great dev won’t wait until the Monday morning check-in- they’ll deal with it right away. One of the biggest delays in a website roll-out is content. That’s something that your developer should bring up on day one. If it comes as a surprise, they’re either bad at their job, or just don’t care enough to bring their full effort to your project.
Cultivate A Great Working Environment
Hiring a good developer, or picking the right team to work on your web development project takes a lot of work and experience. Not only do you have to find the right one, but you also need to know when they’re right for your company. Learn from the mistakes of the managers in the dot-com era, and make sure you understand the scope of the job before you hire for it.
Here are some other ways that you can ensure you’re protecting yourself and your company when you hire a developer.
Do Your Homework
Even an entrepreneur or CEO can’t hire someone and expect to immediately understand what they do. Before you put a single job ad online, do your homework about the position first. Learn the basics of web development, and get a better understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of a developer.
The more you know about the position, the better you’ll be at selecting the right person for your job. It’s really easy for a smooth talker to win you over when you don’t know the right questions to ask. Make sure you have a list of questions prepared, as well as some understanding of the correct answers.
Once you’ve hired a developer either in-house or through an external company, make sure you’re able to communicate effectively. A great way to facilitate effective communication is to set up regular check-ins. If you’re in active development, once a week is great. It gives you a chance to sit down and ask questions about the project. If your developer is evasive or unwilling to check in regularly, they might be delaying or taking advantage of your ignorance.
If you’re not an expert in web development, that’s ok. You just need to know enough to be able to communicate your needs, and understand the developer’s position. A good way to help yourself do that is by coming prepared to every meeting and discussion. Being prepared helps you feel more confident, especially if you aren’t working with the same level of technical knowledge as your developer. Make lists, take notes, and refer to them often during the process.
Present a United Front
Regardless of whether you’re working for yourself or for a major multinational corporation, it’s important to present a united front. Make sure that the requirements (and deadlines!) are the same no matter who your developer asks. It helps to keep channels of communication clear, and ensures that no time is wasted by the developer trying to figure out whose instructions take precedence.
Think About Outsourcing Your Web Development
Ultimately, the best way to protect yourself and your company, and ensure the viability of your project is to learn enough about development to communicate with your team. When you can’t understand their day-to-day responsibilities, you won’t be able to judge the quality of their work, or lead them in the right direction. This can lead to a major communication breakdown. Faith in your team isn’t enough if you simply don’t understand what they do.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of hiring a staff member whose duties and responsibilities you don’t really understand, think about outsourcing your project instead. Contracting an external company puts you on a more level playing field, and it’s easier to redefine the scope of the work when you’re not hiring a full-time employee.
If you don’t see eye to eye with the development team you hired, it’s easier to part ways when they’re an external team, rather than a permanent employee. Meeting with them often helps to keep potential issues at bay, because ultimately, communication is the key to any successful client-developer relationship. If issues do occur, switching to a new team and dealing with any legal fallout is easiest when you’re working in the same country. Hiring an external team is a great solution while you learn more about the technical side of your project.