Tips for Productive Startup-Developer Relationships

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Tips for Productive Startup-Developer Relationships

So, finally, you hired your first developer… or maybe it was the 10th developer of your startup. The good news is that you are growing.

But, before you just start assigning work to your developer, it is important to ensure that you are both on the same page and have the same understanding of the trajectory of your startup, as this will form the basis of your relationship.

To keep things on the straight and narrow and to make the entire process smooth, we have here listed five tips that would strengthen your relationship with developers. While each startup has its own core values and is made up of its own unique individuals, we’re sure that this approach would surely keep your developers and the rest of the team on the same page as you are.

1. Plan well

This is the most important part of any web or mobile app development project. You need to have a concrete plan before you can proceed with it. With the help of a solid plan, you will be able to aptly describe the work that you are doing, set deadlines for the task and allocate resources accordingly.

Your developers need to know what they are working on and how it should proceed. Face to face meet-ups work great, but if your developer is located in a different city or a different country, it is highly recommended to make use of project management tools like Skype, Slack, HipChat, and others to develop a stronger relationship between you and your developer.

2. Understand what you want

It is true that you are the startup entrepreneur and you may even be outsourcing the work to some other party. But it is imperative for you to understand what you are expecting from the project. The key here is to be clear on the details and not to make assumptions. The requirements of the project should be clearly defined and discussed.

3. Set realistic deadlines

While it is important to plan and stick to it during the course of the project, it is imperative to set realistic deadlines. Your project will not really be that fruitful if you are working with impractical targets. On the other hand, you should also keep some space as a buffer in case a deadline is not met. Juggling expectations is a major part of any project, and so keeping a bit of spare time up your sleeve is a good idea.

4. Maintain constant communication

We could not stress more on how important communication is in the context of your project. The team needs to interact with each other closely and constantly. What this does is basically straightens out any doubts or misinterpretations. If the developer faces any issue with regards to the project, it should be clearly explained to the team as soon as possible. This, of course, works both ways.

Now, the question is, how do you maintain these regular communications? This can be achieved by hosting regular meetings and catch-up sessions, working on progress reports and sharing them with the team and the likes. As an entrepreneur, you could also make use of different chat tools to be in constant communication with the developer.

5. Feedback is important

When we talk about having frequent meetings, one of the important aspects to focus on is feedback. As an entrepreneur, you need to communicate to the developer about the feedback on the particular product or project. Now, this refers to constructive feedback. If there are bugs or issues noted in the product, they should be immediately highlighted to the developer.

The developer should be made aware about the steps needed to reproduce the issue, what browser and device was used, and other relevant information including screenshots and video. This opens up the discussion for the steps required to solve these issues and how things can be made better. Unless feedback is discussed and analysed, it cannot be solved.

Re-establishing Your Relationship

The key take-away lesson from this article is to maintain a proper communication with your developer. Do not just assign work and hope for the best, instead, make the whole concept clear to them and keep lines of communication open constantly.

Daniel Boterhoven

Developer and Founder @DenimDevAU. I create #apps for the web and mobile.

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