Ask Your Developer – Jeff Lawson
Ask Your Developer is a guide for leaders and product managers from the tech industry, on how they leverage the skills of their developers for driving the company.
Why Developers Matter
The key to getting business people and developers to work well together, and building a world-class engineering culture, is for the business people to share problems, not solutions, with the developers.
So bringing developers into the big issues you’re trying to solve and leveraging their full skills.
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Removing Layers, Not Adding More
Great product managers are not a layer between customer needs and developers. They actually remove layers, eliminate preconceived solutions and erroneous presumptions, and streamline communications.
Innovation At Hyperspeed Contd.
To stay on top of your competitors, you need to innovate. To innovate, you need to experiment. Experimentation is the prerequisite to innovation.
You need to ensure that there’s tolerance for failure – both personally and organizationally – it’s the primary key to unlocking innovation.
An Open, Learning Environment
An open learning environment is where the company is receptive to not having all the answers, is comfortable with uncertainty, and strives to get better every day.
It means being flexible instead of rigid and having a culture where people continually seek the truth. You want knowledge and truth to win, not politics.
Ask your developers what happens after an outage.
Is the person to blame or the process?
Are people encouraged to learn quickly, even at the risk of making mistakes?
Do you provide venues for learning from each other and even take risks by giving younger leaders the reins to parts of the business?
A company’s structure built on teams of around ten people is a way to scale up a company without losing the urgency, focus, and quality of talent that characterises a startup by building a large company out of what are essentially many startups.
Single Threaded Leaders
“Single-threaded” leaders have only one thing on their minds – how their team can win.
They are empowered to make their own decisions and are responsible for them.
Wearing The Customer’s Shoes
Make sure your customer feels you’re on their side.
Encourage developers to talk directly with customers, listen to customers on a call, or attend meetings with customers regularly to get a human connection with them and understand their problems better.
Ask your developers what customer problems they are solving/working on.
An Agile Environment
The core of Agile is the ability to move quickly and easily, change direction quickly, and respond to changing inputs.
The Questions To Ask
A Product Manager or leader needs to question the following: Ask your developers whether they want product managers to be gatekeepers or facilitators of customer interaction? Do PMs view their role similarly? Do they collaborate to groom road maps coming from a shared customer understanding, or do they divide and conquer where PMs know the customers and engineers know the code?