How To Communicate Better With Software Developers

If you are an entrepreneur with a great idea for a software product, one of the key parts is finding a developer — be it full time, or part time. But when it comes to finding a good developer there comes a lot of challenges and fears. Working with multiple clients, these are some of the things that have helped me reject or gel well with some of them.

Know your needs & requirements

Know what you needs and why you want to do this. They may seem natural when you are in dire need of a developer. Just because the end result would involve coding.

Have Documentation

It’s true that some developers don’t like going over paper work unrelated to the intended purpose. However, it would be awesome to have a documentation of what you really want. Starting with your initial problem before adding extra features.

Be clear and Concise

First things first, be very clear, concise and straight to the point. Just know the core problem you want to solve and don’t distract the developer with other problems you wish the product could solve. A lot of non-techies with brilliant ideas confuse developers when they start talking a lot about their product and what it should do. You talking about your product being able to send SMS, Notifications, Email, and the others. That shouldn’t be the core reason why you want to build the application unless that’s the core of the business. Just go straight to the single most important problem.

Limit your expectations

It’s a plus if you know a bit about what is supposed to be done; this encourages developers to work with you. I don’t mean limit your requirements. What I mean is “don’t expect a sky scraper built that suspends in the air in some couple of minutes. If you want a push notification system that securely sends some client data through push notification using XMPP and you go ahead to read some little bit about it and understand it fairly well, don’t think it would be that easy to pull of in less than an hour.

Have a Budget

Before you go ahead and hire a developer, a friend, colleague, freelancer or full time developer, having a budget is very important. And your amount should be a good reasonable price for the kind of developer you asked for. If you ask for a kick-ass developer with core knowledge in what you ask for, know how much you’re willing to put on the table. Or limit your expectation(someone who just started to code and can do a couple of if’s and loops) then you can limit the price as well. Remember, a great developer comes on-board with intense knowledge, and expertise developed over a very long time. And paying them reasonably well would as well limit your development cost and time in general.

Pricing low is enough reason sometimes for your developer to abandon your project for other great opportunities. Listen to them and understand what they want.

Sketches and Wireframes

We all get it the feeling this may stall time sometimes, but to minimize misunderstanding and save time and money, entrepreneurs should have either a sketch, wireframe or prototype. A simple paper-pencil sketch may help paint a picture of what you’re talking about. If not you can ask the developer to come out with what he thinks for you(that won’t hurt 😀). You can forego this step if you want the developer to take reins over your product.

Communicating and Workflow

Determine and maintain a good communication channel for both you or your developer. Set times during which you can be reached so your developer can talk to you as soon as possible on new development, hindrances and suggestions. Zoning-out can lead to developers abandoning your project in general. That is if you’re paying him and you’re not talking with him.

Be Realistic About Deadlines

Caution, if you don’t know anything about software development, don’t try to set a deadline for a developer. You’d either end up disappointed with the final output and may feel the developer is not good. If you want a product built within a period of time, be fast about getting someone who can sit and outline the time it may take to accomplish your time.

Be Involved and Provide Quick Feedback

Know you need to involved and provide quick feedback. Before you start hiring remember developers don’t know your end goal. To achieve the best for your final project also remember to get involved and provide feedback. You can employ project management tools such as Trello to manage tasks and know when to test your software.

“Stop thinking of [talent] as either family or free agents. Think of them instead as allies.” — Tim O’Reilly

Please do not have the notion developers want to come in make some quick money and get away. Once a good developer shows good commitment to your project, they would always want to stay with you. Do not undervalue them at any cost. If you do, they will start looking elsewhere. Remember that the outstanding developer you’re hiring now is being poached elsewhere, so make them happy, provide incentives for them stay at all time.

Also published on Medium.