What to do when you need to manage developers as an IT non-expert (key steps)?

What to do when you need to manage developers as an IT non-expert (key steps)?

Written by Danubius IT Solutions

The growing ubiquity of IT has led to a surge in businesses that operate on digital platforms. Yet, not every business owner or manager possesses an in-depth understanding of IT, which can make managing a team of developers a complex endeavor. This article addresses the various challenges that IT non-experts face when coordinating software development projects, as well as practical strategies to overcome them.

To have a better understanding of the problem, it is advised to read our previous blog post.

1. Bridging the communication gap

One of the most prevalent challenges is the communication gap between non-technical managers and developers. Often, business owners may struggle to understand technical jargon, making it challenging to communicate project requirements and timelines effectively.

Solution: Implement a 'No Jargon' rule where both parties use layman’s terms to discuss projects. This helps to foster mutual understanding and reduce confusion. Also, consider learning the basics of coding and familiarizing yourself with key technical terms to enhance communication and understanding. Building some level of understanding is crucial. If you don't have the time, talent or patience to do so, you should try to involve someone with good coordination skills, product mindset and tech background as soon as possible.

2. Defining clear and achievable goals

The dynamic and complex nature of development projects can make it difficult for non-technical managers to set realistic and clear goals.

Solution: Practice SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goal settings with the involvement of your team. Collaborate with your developers during this process; they can provide insights into the feasibility of proposed timelines and project specifications.

3. Ensuring quality control

Without technical knowledge, it can be challenging for business owners to assess the quality of work delivered by their developers.

Solution: Implement code review practices and use automated testing tools to maintain code quality. Regularly conducting audits with the help of external IT consultants can also provide valuable insights into the team's performance.

4. Balancing innovation and stability

In the IT world, innovation and stability are two sides of the same coin. While innovation is necessary for staying competitive, it can introduce potential risks to the stability of your systems.

Solution: Establish a balanced strategy where you allocate resources for both innovation (new features, projects) and stability (maintenance, upgrades). This requires a clear understanding of your business priorities and risk appetite.

5. Understanding resource allocation

Without technical expertise, it can be difficult to estimate the time and resources required for different development tasks, leading to misallocation and inefficiency.

Solution: Use project estimation techniques like function point analysis (FPA) and take input from your developers. Over time, collect data to improve your estimation accuracy. Using project management tools can also provide visibility into the progress and help in resource allocation.

6. Handling technical debt

Technical debt refers to the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing the quick and easy solution instead of using a better approach that would take longer. Non-technical managers may struggle to understand this concept and its implications.

Solution: Regularly schedule time to address technical debt, and encourage your developers to communicate openly about it. Understanding that tackling technical debt is an investment in the long-term health of your projects is crucial.

7. Encouraging professional development

As a non-technical manager, identifying growth opportunities for your developers might be a challenge.

Solution: Foster an environment of continuous learning. Encourage your team to attend seminars, webinars, and conferences. Also, leverage performance review meetings to discuss their career aspirations and how you can support their journey.

Conclusion

Leading a team of developers as a non-IT expert can be challenging, but by adopting clear communication, encouraging professional growth, and implementing effective strategies, these challenges can be effectively managed. Remember, the key is to foster a collaborative relationship with your developers, leveraging their expertise when needed while providing clear direction and support.

If you need helping hands with your IT related project, please contact us. Our first consultation, where we understand you business needs, is completely free and no obligations apply.

Interested in IT solutions tailored to your business? Contact us for a free consultation, where we'll collaboratively explore your needs and our methodologies.

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