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How Can SMBs Work with Experienced Developers?

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If you are a small and medium business (SMB) or a start-up and digital transformation (DX) initiatives top the list of your immediate priorities, then it’s highly likely that you will have to work with developers. It’s a myth that DX is only for larger enterprises with huge budgets. Today, it is critical to stay ahead of the competition by providing customers with not just enhanced products and services but also an enhanced experience.

Depending on your business requirements, you may need a software developer or a full-stack developer or front-end or back-end web development services to take your business to the next level. While it is important that you try to do it yourself, there are many reasons that you may need professional assistance to achieve better results. Not only does it help you concentrate on marketing and operations but also takes away the anxiety of having to also manage the IT aspect of your business.

Why Developers?

Most of the time, off-the-shelf software and solutions are not the right fit for a business, especially when it has unique requirements. Moreover, if you are looking at expanding your business, things like automation, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are paramount. That is why it’s important to have developers on board who help create a system architecture for your business and handle the work of databases, servers and systems engineering to ensure your business runs smoothly.

There should be a solid reason why their tribe is so valued by organizations across the world. These are the guys who help you turn your ideas into reality. Be it the development of software, your company apps or websites, there are certain aspects of business that require problem-solving skills and an aptitude for finding good solutions for those problems with an open mind. And developers help you achieve exactly that.

How to Work with Experienced Developers?

Developers are a different tribe altogether, certainly different from marketing or project management. To work with them, effective communication is key for a productive working relationship and being concordant while executing a project. Experienced developers are without a doubt a crucial part of your development team. If you are an e-commerce start-up, you want to either create your website on Shopify or Wix or engage with a full-stack developer who has practical knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, Ruby, Python, MySQL, Apache, MongoDB, etc. to create a full-stack dynamic product. Whatever be the business requirement, knowing what you need and then engaging with the right talent goes a long way in determining the success of your venture.

Here are some of the tips to work with experienced developers.

  • Share your end goals. Unless developers know what your end goals are, they may not be able to think backwards to create something which you want them to. Be it an in-house team of developers, or outsourced or even freelance, it’s critical to make them understand what your end goals are. Involve them in your planning process from the very beginning. Help them by eliminating various roadblocks and avoid making last-minute changes to the plan. Moreover, do not forget to remain in tight communication. Even if they are remotely located, there are a lot of tools that will help in effective communications. Ensure there’s a productive dialogue between you and the developer(s). 
  • Do not keep changing the blueprints. Imagine if you need to build a mansion and you discuss the design with the builders. When they are halfway through, you just change the blueprint and ask them to rebuild the whole thing. Will they be able to start from scratch again? Of course not. The same goes for the developers. If you have planned and discussed your requirements with the developers, ensure that you do not expect them to start all over again in the middle of the project. Little tweaks here and there are of course inevitable; however, they should be in the purview of the entire project.
  • Understand what your requirements are. Even if you do not know what aspect of tech development you need, it is always good to have a little knowledge of how it works. For instance, if you need a cracking website, you should know how HTML, CSS and JavaScript function in developing a website. You do not need a degree in software or web development, but you can always learn the basics from several platforms available on the internet. It will help you have clarity on what your requirements are and communicate them clearly to a developer. Consult developers to see what are the possible solutions that can help your business.
  • Trust the timelines. It’s advisable to let them know what you want, how things should look and how they should function. But it is equally important to trust a developer when it comes to the timeline estimates. Let them do their job and keep them motivated. Remove roadblocks if any, to enable them to take your product faster to market.
  • Give them the freedom to help them be ‘in the zone’. Developers are very competent people and have high caliber. While it is important to keep checking the progress and getting into huddles to avoid any roadblocks, it’s equally important to avoid micromanaging and give them their space so that they can concentrate uninterrupted.

In-House or On-Demand?

SMBs and start-ups are often caught in this dilemma of whether to hire an in-house developer team or try to go for a team of freelance developers. While an in-house team will shoot up the budget manifold, giving it to freelancers may put an element of vulnerability.

Moreover, finding an in-house talent or a pool of talents is difficult at any given point. Crème de la crème is often seen moving to the world’s top technology firms or multi-million start-ups. The smartest of in-house talent also does not stick for too long, and high attrition in this industry is a universal phenomenon.

On the other hand, on-demand teams are on the rise. They provide SMBs with the necessary skills by bringing experienced, pre-vetted professionals on board and reducing operating overheads, thereby minimizing risks and taking the product faster to market. If you hire on-demand developers, it will give you the flexibility of engaging experienced staff and running agile teams without having to go through a lengthy hiring process and matching skyrocketing salary expectations.  Successful companies like Slack, WhatsApp and Alibaba outsourced their software development and there are more such interesting examples of such a set-up.

Published: January 11, 2022
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