So you've hired a developer...

July 25th, 2017

Outsourcing // Grossum Possum

A guide to successful cooperation with a developer

Whether you hired a developer for your own company or are outsourcing one (or several), there are a few things that will make the cooperation more efficient and hassle-free for all participants.

Planning stage

Involve your developers into the planning meeting. This will allow all parties to understand what exactly is expected and there will be time to clarify various issues. 

After you agreed on the plan of actions, do your best to stick to that plan. It can be done by implementing various project management systems (like JIRA or Trello) where you can set deadlines and assign tasks. Besides, these tools provide a visual representation of the processes which makes it easier to comprehend timewise. 

Don't assume

As one of my teachers from the university loved to say, "When you assume, you're making an a** of you and me." Thankfully, not all assumptions are that doomed, but there is still a possibility that your assumption might transform into a big trouble later. If you doubt, it's always better to ask. 

One of the examples of assumptions in web development and communication with the developers like in thinking (if you're not a developer yourself) that something is just a simple task that would take just 20 minutes to fix. If you assume that, plan accordingly, and later that "easy task" takes 10 hours to complete... well, it's not good. Especially for project managers who have to explain the sudden rate increase to the client.

Understand what you're asking for

Before you give a task to a developer, think it through so you will be able to give clear instructions. For example, your initial task was "Create an e-mail form." You should consider adding - where the form should be located, what questions should be asked in the form, which of those are required, where does the user go after s/he successfully submitted that form, does he get an autoreply, etc. Besides the user, you should think of your own needs - where do you need the recorded form to go (e-mail or just a record in logs), what should be done about that user... You get the idea.

We aren't saying you'll be able to answer all the possible questions in the description of the task, but consider thinking the task through. This will simplify the explanations and, in general, developers like to get clear instructions of what is expected. It is much easier to do the task exactly right. 

Let them do their job

You've hired a developer for a reason. That reason is developing your web / mobile / backend solutions or whatever. There will be some probation period where you check on how your software engineer is working, but, please, don't stand behind his back, watching the monitor and asking questions about the code all the time :) Aim at checking the results (and set sound measurements in the very beginning of the cooperation) so both will know whether the work is done well or not. 

Developers are like cats

Developers have often been compared to cats, who love to be alone. Granted, not all of them are introverts who prefer their monitors in front of them instead of people's faces, but chances are - many developers are just like that. Discuss the plan with them, assign the tasks, and let them do their magic. 

But, just like cats, they do enjoy a comfortable life, so treat them well and you will be repaid in motivated employees who are focused on developing the best project ever.

Ready to start developing your own project?

A word from our own developers: 

Yuri B:

I like to work when I have a clear understanding of the tasks I am supposed to do and deadlines to which I have to do those tasks. Also, I need to know who is responsible for what. 

Dmitry B:

I value when the client knows what he wants and can explain his wonderful and great idea to other people so they understand.

Sergey L:

One of the main things for me is "clearly define the task." Too often I've had situations where there was misunderstanding and work had to be redone, something that could've been avoided if the task was clear. 

Another thing is to have those tasks written out, not just mentioned orally. This allows to re-read the task, comprehend it, and ask additional questions after you read it. 

Unfortunately, this mistake is often done and that's the reason there are so many memes online about "This is what the initial idea was like, this is how it was explained..."

Ready to start developing your own project?

Author: Grossum Possum

Grossum Possum. He loves using Symfony2 for his projects and learning to implement Symfony3. He also likes developing web and mobile applications using other programming languages and frameworks, such as PHP and Java. In his free time, Grossum Possum likes to write about his experiences in the blog.

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