What advice would you give a marketer collaborating with a developer?
Too often, developers aren’t brought into a project until it’s time to develop. I would advise the marketer to include the developer on discovery/scoping calls. At a minimum this helps to avoid, or at least minimize, communication errors but has the added benefit of allowing the developer to gain insight into how the client and marketing team is trying to solve a given problem. This may change how a developer approaches the build, prioritizes components, and any scalability concerns. This also serves as a reality check on the cost and timeline.
What advice would you give a developer collaborating with a marketer?
Marketers bring to the table a different expertise than developers -- and both equally valuable. I would encourage developers to leverage the knowledge marketers have about the strategy behind the project they are working on, asking questions about the goals, the uses, the requirements of the users to better understand how to meet the needs of the project. Developers can provide marketers valuable information to help prevent scope creep and timeline issues by being very clear about what is possible within certain time frames and being firm about what can and can’t be done in a client’s budget. As much as we all hate hearing no from a developer, it can actually be very helpful to have boundaries set that are clear for a client to prevent issues with quality and missing deadlines.
What is the best thing about partnering with each other?
From the developer side, the best thing about partnering with the marketing team is gaining insight into the problem solving process. The more reps you get here the more collaborative the approach can be vs. just one side handing off to the other.
I love getting to work with developers who can make functionality come to life even better than I imagined it. Getting to work with people with skills that exceed your own is exciting and rewarding! I also love learning about the technical challenges, limitations, and ways that developers solve problems that our clients bring us -- it’s amazing the creative solutions that can come from working together!
Any horror stories of collaborations gone wrong? (and what did you learn?)
I’ve been involved in a few rush projects where handoffs weren’t done properly and concerns (from the dev side) weren’t relayed back in a timely manner. The communication gap in these situations inevitably leads to frustration on all sides, most importantly the client’s. The takeaway here was to slow the process down and adhere to an efficient and structured timeline. It ends up saving a lot of time.
Very early in my career I was managing a website redesign project, and I didn’t have adequate understanding of different options for choosing a CMS for a website project -- so I didn’t ask the right questions. The result was a website delivery that at the 11th hour we realized wasn’t what we thought we would be getting. It was an expensive lesson learned to find a different development partner that could take the reins and finish the project. I learned that there is a mutual responsibility between a client (often marketers) and an agency (which includes marketers and developers) to help bridge the gap for clients who don’t have all the expertise they may need to get the results they want.
Any tips for collaborating and communicating effectively?
Build out a process that makes sense for everyone and, within reason, keep all sides in the loop every step of the way. We have a very structured workflow in our PM software (and a great PM team) that steers our projects within an iterative process that keeps everyone on the same page and projects on track.
What he said 100 percent! ^^
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