Developer and a Marketer | A conversation with Kieran of KJA Digital and Britt of BS+Co.
Recently, we recorded "When a Marketer meets a Developer" and we were treated with Phil Vallender and Tim Joyce reinforcing that marketers and developers can get along!
But I needed more proof so I asked a couple of teams to answer some questions.
This is the second of two interviews. Check out the first one here
I reached out to Kieran and asked if he would be willing to answer some questions with a marketer he has worked with before. Kieran, being the kind fellow that he is, said "Of course!" and now I have the pleasure of presenting the responses from Kieran Allen, Co-Founder of KJA Digital: a software development company based in the UK and Britt Schwartz, CEO + Founder of BS+Co: an uncomplicated marketing services and strategy business that works with B2B tech and manufacturing companies.
Here's what they had to say:
What advice would you give a marketer collaborating with a developer?
Communication is key. Before the project starts, schedule in catch-ups and be transparent about progress. Be honest about your capacity, and say no if you don’t have the bandwidth. If a project doesn’t interest you, and you’re fortunate enough to have work - say no. Schedule in a debrief at the end of a project - we too often finish up a project and move onto the next one without celebrating, or talking about how the next project could be executed better. If you make a mistake, admit it.
What advice would you give a developer collaborating with a marketer?
Be clear and realistic. It sounds really simple, but it’s the simple decisions in the beginning that make for the smoothest projects. Be clear to your entire team, including the developers on what you’re trying to accomplish. Most importantly, be clear with your client and/or leadership on what they can realistically expect during the project.
What is the best thing about partnering with each other?
The trust. When we started working together on our first project BS+Co. just let us get on with it. They managed expectations with the client and didn't schedule daily calls. We write software because we enjoy it - and the fact that BS+Co. just let us get on with it, is fantastic. This works well alongside weekly updates
The joy of the client when we delivered his very complex website project on-time and on-budget. Every week KJA gave us the most detailed updates on a project I’ve ever been given, which gave us complete confidence to clearly communicate to our client where the project was at. My FAVORITE part is that even though I know there were issues to be solved, none of them ever became my issue. Keiran would say, “I ran into this issue and here’s how I already solved it.”
Any horror stories of collaborations gone wrong? (and what did you learn?)
Not with BS+Co. However, in the past there have been a couple of projects which have suffered from extreme scope creep. Now we shut this down quickly to protect the integrity of the business relationship! Thinking back to these, the signs are usually pretty obvious and I think developers (I include myself in this!) can sometimes be responsible for this themselves.
Who doesn’t have horror stories?! All of the horrible projects I’ve been a part of were direct results of lack of management of client expectations from the client services (marketing) team OR came from the overconfidence of a developer in creating the end result that they said they could.
Any tips for collaborating and communicating effectively?
Update everyone regularly, even if it seems like a small update. Give them enough insight into the project so they can update the client. Use software which you’re likely to keep up to date with the status of projects, such as Trello. Give the team enough insight into the whole project and communicate any blockers as soon as they come up. It seems simple enough, but this should all be done before you write any code. Plan first, write code last.
Ensure that you’re having the RIGHT conversations. There is so much that goes into the collaboration between a marketer and their dev, especially when it’s a technically challenging project. Focusing conversations on the real things that should be solved together and then letting each team solve the issues in their lane keeps the project aligned and efficient. Also, hire Kieran. 🙂
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