We forget that there is more to app development than the the work of the coders. App development firms are in business to make money, not just to develop great apps. This is true for your internal team too, and there’s often a disconnect between the development and business sides of your organization in managing app development.
On one hand the business side looks at the bottom line and expects an app to immediately have a return on investment, or for their developers to inherently know what apps the business needs to get work done. On the other hand, developers might not understand the business, and develop based on what they think is best rather than what is best for return on investment.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Steve Mezak and Tom Cooper from Accelerance sat down recently to discuss the disconnect between business strategy and technology, and provided suggestions on how to remedy this common issue.
Not surprisingly communication is key. On the business side, a clear vision of what the company expects the app to do is vital. How is your development team going to be able to do their job well if little time was spent on expectations, strategies, and goals for your project? They won’t. You’ll have one idea how to do it, while your developers are writing code for what they think you need, rather than what they know you need.
On the development side, it’s important to speak up if something doesn’t sound right. Sometimes business leaders can come up with some pretty off-the-wall ideas that either are horribly inefficient or just won’t work. The problem is developer teams walk away and just do as they’re told. That’s equally as bad. Don’t be afraid to say “that’s not going to work.” But if you do, be ready to offer an alternative.
“What I've seen over and over again is a disconnect between the technical folks and the so-called business folks where there's almost a perception that those are different entities,” Tom laments.
Speak the Same Language
Tom points out that even when the business and development teams communicate, it’s often in a completely different language. “Let me give you enough buzz words so you'll go away and leave me alone,” he says. "That’s not going to end well."
Talk to each other in plain English. Understand that a developer isn’t going to grasp the idea of conversion and ROI completely, and conversely the money guy isn’t going to know what you're talking about when you talk about MVP. You’re seeing the end goal from completely different perspectives.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway here from the perspective of managing app development is to communicate in ways that promotes discussion rather than discouragement. In the end, the product will satisfy both the business and development teams.