One of the most frustrating things is trying to complete a project with people that have different communication styles and personalities. This is a common problem in the digital marketing world when marketers try to communicate with developers.
David Workman of Delta Apparel shares with us how he bridges the communication gap and gives great advice to marketers looking for a solid working relationship with their development team.
Venus vs. Mars?
Generally speaking, when dealing with developers and marketers, we’re dealing with introverts versus extroverts. They both need each other. One can’t do the other’s job, so it is important to learn how the other side communicates in order to be successful.
David’s company used a Myers Briggs assessment to better understand each member of the team. It helped him understand each person’s natural language and how they do work.
You need to be able to speak to the person you’re working with in a language that they’re comfortable with, not what you’re comfortable with. Take away your needs and put their needs first. If your developer speaks in very black and white terms, you need to remove the fluff from your conversation and don’t sugar coat anything. You are showing them respect by doing this.
Goals for Developers
It is important for marketers to understand that developers tend to share different goals than you. David shared an article from Ektron on Twitter that lays out these goals nicely. Here is a quick break down:
- Defensive programming
Marketers tend to want updates on projects. Developers tend to respond with, “we’re working on it.” It is important that marketers communicate exactly what they need. Tell the developers that you need to know what they’re working on and when can you expect to receive it. Are they going to hit their due date? Is there anything they need from you?
Set up a schedule to receive updates. Don’t interrupt their workflow by flooding their inboxes with emails, calling them at random or having constant meetings.
Understanding the “Why”
Help the dev team understand the background for your project so that they understand the reasoning and goals. They may be able show you ways to get additional functionality that you didn’t think about.
Helping them understand the background could also head off unnecessary conflicts or bad feelings. If you have a design change, let them know that there’s nothing technically wrong with the site, but appearance is a marketing need to keep people on the site.
Help set expectations. Make sure they are realistic.
Respect their work
Do not ever compare a professional’s work to amateur work. There are so many things going on behind the scenes that you can’t see, but make a huge difference in the quality of your website.
Likewise, don’t ask why a two-man team can’t quickly turn around a project like an Amazon that has hundreds of developers.
Keep your communications organized and timely. It is important that everyone gets to a shared goal.
Make sure you accept accountability for what is wrong, do whatever is needed to make it right and then accept accountability for what is right. Give credit where credit is due.
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants. Start getting organized, structure your focus and keep pushing forward no matter how many times you get knocked back. Learn from your mistakes, apply the lessons learned and then forget about them.
About David Workman
David is a proven operations, marketing, and business management professional.
As Manager of eCommerce Systems at Delta Apparel, Inc., an international design, marketing, manufacturing, and sourcing company that features a diverse portfolio of lifestyle branded activewear apparel, headwear and high quality private label programs, he manages all ecommerce development operations for brands such as Salt Life, Junk Food Clothing, M.J. Soffe, Redneck Riviera and Delta Apparel, among others.
David is responsible for the ongoing platform performance and growth of Delta’s eCommerce programs. By ensuring that Delta’s eCommerce websites have the engine to get them to the next level, David thrives on this challenge and opportunity every new day provides. David is also a recurring speaker at Internet Retailer conferences on topics such as eMail Marketing and Website Design.
Connect with David
- Book – Social Media: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook : How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Book – Accountability: The Oz Principle : Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Craig Hickman, Tom Smith, Roger Connors
- Book – Overcoming Fear: Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff
- Book – Changing Cultures: Change the Culture, Change the Game by Tom Smith, Roger Connors
- Tool: Zendesk
- Conference: Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition
- Conference: Internet Summit
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