Strong client-customer relationships are built on finding the right balance of input. The same is true for businesses looking to form a successful relationship with a development partner.
In general, when a business approaches a development firm looking for a new website or mobile application, the leadership team often already has an idea of what it should look like. They have probably laid out a general framework and the many bells and whistles necessary for their users.
But developers, having seen countless successes and failures, often know which of these ideas are attainable and which may be too idealistic. Having a great idea is one thing but executing it may be quite another.
For this reason, it’s important for business leaders and their development partners to find the right creative balance, a place where the client gets all the features they want but the developers are given freedom to execute in the most effective way.
Here are a few tips on doing just that:
Know the Business Model
For any project to be successful, it’s always important for the primary developer contacts to truly understand the client’s business model. This should be one of your main focuses during the initial brainstorm meetings. As the customer, it is essential that you clearly present your overall business objectives, as well as the specific goals of the development project. That way the development leader can effectively work as an advocate for the client, while at the same time ensure that the app or website accomplishes the overall business goals. It's a difficult balancing act but one that will keep the project focused and on the right track.
Understand Everyone’s Role
Many people start a development project with the idea that everything will be fine if the programmers just follow the guidelines given. Of course, as the adage goes, you can tell me what you want done or you can tell me how to do it, but you can't do both.
The same is true in programming. So when trying to determine who to use as a development partner, you should make sure that they look at their role as an adviser as much a code writer. This will encourage a two-way relationship where business leaders are comfortable asking for the developer’s advice and the developer is comfortable using his creative freedom to best meet the predetermined business goals.
Another important concept in a successful partnership is what has come to be known as the “lean philosophy.” Lean is about identifying and removing waste. And one of the most important wastes to remove is "Unused Employee Creativity.” Unused Employee Creativity is when management doesn't elicit feedback from the people who are actually doing the work.
For the higher-level developers, it’s essential to listen to the programmers and coders working on the ground floor. Not only will it benefit the end product, but it will give the programmers a greater sense of ownership -- often inspiring their best work. Business owners and other stakeholders should also invite feedback from the entire development team so they’re always aware of any glitches or possible improvement options.
Overall, working with a developer is all about proper communication. When all parties are working toward the same goal, it creates a more efficient process that almost always results in a more complete and successful product. Those that do find the right balance between the client’s wants and the developer’s needs are guaranteed to find the process enjoyable and mutually beneficial.
Title image courtesy of Arsgera (Shutterstock)