Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Software Development for Marketing

Here's a quick course in software development strategies, aimed at marketing folks. I realize some marketeers are knowledgeable about development, but there are plenty who seem to think software is something that can be made like a bicycle. "Software factory" is a term I hope I never hear again...

1. Pick a strategy

Vision and leadership. Got 'em? Use 'em. Don't got 'em? Go get 'em. Use 'em. Seems simple, no? Pick a strategy that is achievable, and lay out a plan for getting from Point A to Point B. If you aren't sure of something, ask.

2. Communicate the strategy

Communicate it early and often. Make sure you let everyone know what the plan is, and what the expectations are.

It's ok to be a little fuzzy, but if you want to inspire people (there's that leadership thing again) you need to be able to draw on the whiteboard:

Here's where we are today --------------> here's where we want to be x days/weeks/months/years from now

and make your case for how long it should take to get there and what needs to be done along the way.

3. Stick with it

That line should be as straight as possible. Don't draw little circles. Don't get lost along the way. You can change things, but if you do, make sure you follow these steps again.

4. Trust the developers

Tell the developers what you want. Ask them how long it will take. If you don't like the answer, don't tell them to do it faster. Don't tell them to cut corners. It will end up costing more in the long run. Don't believe it? Try it. :)

Developers can be passionate about building good software. They thrive on being able to get work done with minimal interference. When you're putting together a software development team, think about creating the position of "bullshit deflector". More on that later...

1 comment:

  1. Steve Rankin8:57 am

    “Trust the developers.” Nicely said, marketing far too often gets in the way when they are not part of the team. The core group, not including any "bullshit flingers" must work as a group. Sitting together is the best thing. As I used to discuss with you, if any of the marketing positions are in disbelief about timelines let them sit down, shut up and watch what it takes to code. Perhaps then they’ll get an appreciation for what it takes and begin to trust the developers. Heck, they may even learn some technical skills that will serve them well - I did. If they don't they should market in another industry.