vintage car versus new model
Professionals have to work to find common ground. PHOTO: Dietmar Becker

The deployment of open sources tools and programming are exposing analytics practitioners to more developers.

Not surprisingly, these two professionals are still often viewed collectively as an odd couple.

But with analytics taking an increasingly important role in marketing and business operations, these professionals have to find common ground to maximize productivity.

Managers, Developers and Analytics

Some managers offer great skills but lack technical abilities, which leads to misunderstandings with developers. Ideally, a manager has a set of accumulated knowledge and experience that complements the technical prowess of tech-savvy employees. 

On the other side, developers are skilled ninjas on programming. But many lack awareness of opportunities to solve organizational or team level problems.

In between these roles lies analytics. The implementation of an analytics solution elicits a blend of programming skills and management skills.

The programming skills are more about subsets of information: I may not know JavaScript, but I do use regular expressions to filter data reports.  The management level skills aid to select what metrics should appear on the reports.

Finding Common Ground

So can these two professionals discover common ground?  Yes. Here are some ideas of where that common ground can be found.

Appreciate the 'Tech' Part of Your 'MarTech'

I sometimes hear the excuse among tech professionals that they do not have to understand code. But in an age where analytics are essential to business operations and a gateway to advanced business intelligence, it's important to have at least basic technical skills.

Take some time to review how programming code is managed. There are sources that come with every code, such as basic documentation that can help you learn the gist about the programming language or framework or library you are using.  

You can also use communities to handle tough technical questions that no one in the organization has an immediate answer.  GitHub is a prime starting point, but it is more technical in tone. Stack OverFlow offers a suitable community where you can ask questions without getting too technical (though people do post code).

Each of the communities mentioned above has its own perks, and will help you improve your skills. For example, you can explore public project repositories on GitHub.

Manage How You Keep in Touch

Meetings are helpful, but sometimes having in person meetings slow down developers from researching and programming, and managers from conducting deeper level reflection of what next steps should be in a project

Prioritize the communication that should occur. Deciding the degree of response on development issues can help surface how much granularity on details is needed before a decision is made or an action is taken.

This is especially important with analytics. Some metrics are more critical than others, and management preferences change over time. Learn to discuss how those metrics should be assessed in the dashboards. Doing so can help downstream changes in tags and data layer information for tag managers.

Find Ways to Complement How to Manage Time

Managers should not manage the developers’ time for them — developers usually have a second sense when a set of code is costing them productivity.  

Developers learn how to manage time through seeing how their work iterates towards a completed project, understanding how much effort they need to put into things to deliver it on schedule. 

Managers should find ways to let developers empower themselves by advising them on how to optimize their time against an overall company objective. Doing so keeps a reasonable balance between making employees manage their own time and ensuring that steps guide a team to a completed project.

Technology is at an historic inflection point, where more people have access to communication platforms and technical knowledge. The best relationships blossom when managers and developers find the right ways to communicate and to manage the very technology that is propelling their organization into the future.