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Women at Work

Secrets to Working Well With Developers

Working as a developer requires very specific qualifications—a set of norms, priorities, and even languages that are often foreign to non-developers.


As a result, working with a developer can also call for a particular set of skills. But the key to building great relationships and easing tension between developers and non-developers is simple: it all starts with communication.

If you work with developers, whether you're in marketing, editorial, ops, or another department, chances are you've experienced the disconnect between these siloed fields first hand. Maybe not in a full-on interdepartmental feud, but what about a missed deadline caused by lack of communication? A terse email that could've easily been avoided? Experiences like these are not uncommon.

Dmitry Shamis, a Tech Lead at HubSpot, wrote some advice for non-developers in this situation: "How to Work With a Developer: 6 Tips for Improving Your Relationship." As a developer working at a marketing company, he knows very well that "[developers] speak a different language than marketers, making effective communication a bit of a challenge." Below are a few of Dmitry's recommendations for navigating this relationship.

"Include [developers] in the planning process." If a product or feature is going to need a developer down the line, it's best to include them from the beginning. They don't need to have creative input, but their technical expertise will help keep the plan on the right track and avoid delays in the future.

"Don't make assumptions." Only a developer can know how technically complicated something is going to be. Don't assume that any request will be quick or easy. Coordinate with your developers to "evaluate the complexity of a task," says Dmitry, "before [establishing] a hard deadline."

"Understand what you're asking for." Even if you're not a developer, it's a good idea to be educated about the basics of developing — you'll only be improving your communication skills. Learn the building blocks of the web, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and look into free online resources like Codecademy to go even further.

In the end, a successful relationship with your developers is all about communication. Effectively communicating across departments isn't easy, but it starts with recognizing your pain points and improving from there. "Talk to your developers about your projects, don't just hand them assignments," Dmitry suggests. "Remember: You're all in this together."

Check out the rest of Dmitry's advice on the HubSpot marketing blog.

Do you have any advice or tips for tech and non-tech teams working cohesively? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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