As a forward-thinking business owner, you certainly recognize the crucial role software developers can play in your company's success.
As engineers, we strive to make your software better by adding features, fixing bugs, and testing changes with the hopes that we are making it a little better for you and your customers each and every day.
In my opinion, this alone is not enough.
Technically, coding features and fixing bugs is indeed what most businesses expect out of the programmers they hire, but why settle for the bare minimum? What if you were able to hire developers who actually took interest in your business and objectives? Imagine the impact a developer like this could have on your company.
As a business owner, you must know what your developer cares about most. Do they focus solely on the software they are developing, or do they understand the larger business perspective?
Getting answers to these questions is vital to meeting your business goals.
But, how do you find what your software developer cares more about?
If you haven't thought about this, I have got you covered. In this article, I will discuss some critical pointers you can use to figure out where the priorities of your software developer(s) lie.
They Always Favor Switching to New Technologies
In every business, money and time are of utmost importance, and need to be considered before every decision is made. Making money and/or saving time are usually the driving forces behind why businesses choose to optimize and develop new products and services.
Sometimes, using new and emerging technologies is indeed the best choice as it saves time on software maintenance and feature development in the long run. However, in the majority cases, this is boost in efficiency greatly exaggerated.
The decision to use the latest and greatest is primarily driven by the natural inclination of developers to gravitate towards the newest sexiest tech. I know this from personal experience because I myself, along with many of my colleagues have fallen into this trap.
Switching to a different technology is only advantageous to your business when the new features and improvements are tangible.
If there are actual business benefits to switching technologies, then it should and will be easy for your developer/team to explain. You will not have to shift through technical jargon or scratch your head in confusion. It will be crystal clear. For example, you will now be able to do X, which will result in Y.
Additionally, it is usually not possible to make an accurate prediction of how much time will be invested for development as there are many unknowns related to new technologies. In my world, they are referred to as “gotchas”, and I am sure you can guess why.
Is your IT team you always leaning towards the use of new technology instead of iterating on the existing? Are you provided no/unsatisfactory explanations as to why? If so, you should consider this a sign that they are not aligned with your business goals and only care about “technical stuff”.
They Always Choose Custom Code Over Pre-Built Systems
There is a tendency amongst many software developers to custom code even the most basic website from scratch.
This can be for a variety of reasons. Developers may want to flex their technical muscles to impress other coders, or they may view the simplicity of your project as an opportunity to experiment with a new programming framework/library.
However, in the 2020’s, there are an abundance of tools (like WordPress for websites, TensorFlow for machine learning, Tableau for data visualization, etc.) that can significantly speed up the development for a variety of use cases.
The decision to use the custom code approach for any solution should always be weighed against using pre-made tools or services. If the pre-built tool/service gets you to the right solution faster, with minimal risk, then it is the best approach for your business (and vice versa).
If your software developer or team does not ever present you with alternate solutions, and always opt to code everything from scratch, it is safe to assume that they care more about code than your business.
They Never ask “why”
Have you ever had one of those conversations where no matter what you say the other person simply remained silent or nodded in agreement? I know I have, and it always ends up feeling like my time could have been better spent sticking to email (i.e., the #1 invention of the 20th century). There is a reason for this.
As humans, we can “feel” how invested someone is in a conversation based on whether or not they participate. As a business owner, when speaking with your developer or team, you need to make sure they understand what is being discussed or asked.
They need to be invested!
You want to know if they are thinking critically about “why” this feature being requested. What is the bigger business case behind it. Not just what is being requested.
A developer that cares about achieving results for your business will know that it is important to ask follow-up questions to understand the “why” of your requests. Developers know that non-technical individuals do not often understand the best route to take in order to achieve goals through the use of technology.
There will inevitably be times what you are requesting is simply not feasible and/or is not the most efficient path to take in order to achieve a result.
So, anytime you notice that you are constantly having a one-way conversation with your software developer(s), then it's a clear indication that you are working with a technical person who does not care about the investment you are making into your business.
From my personal experience, good software developers are extremely difficult to find. It's even harder to find technical individuals who invest time in understanding business, much less your businesses.
By now, you have gotten a sneak-peek into the mind of an experienced freelance software developer who understand and cares about the result of their work. You can now use this knowledge to figure out who is genuinely invested in your business and make wise hiring decisions in the future.
Or, you can save yourself a lot of time and just contact me for a quote 😉.