How to Manage Your Tech Team So Your Products Actually Launch
By now, we can safely conclude that running a tech team well is key to getting a product launched successfully into market (the way you intended to).
For Frederic Joye, co-founder of Arcanys, a product usually fails or gets delayed when its owners mismanage the specifications and business requirements.
“If you requirements are unclear, you are forcing your developers or your provider to make guesses on your behalf, as well as anticipate you changing your mind all the time until you have what you want. ”
No, we don’t have anything against people who change their minds whimsically. But that can’t happen in the middle of product development-unless you want an easy ticket to failure. Plus, clear specifications will make your developers respect you. Trust us, that’s essential.
Joye drew from his own experience in running Arcanys, a Swiss software development and IT outsourcing company based in Cebu City, Philippines, that handled 200 technical projects and led over 80 developers.
Founders or product owners should have a clear vision of what the product should be and the business rationale behind it. When this is vague, creating a production timeline and cost to complete it will always turn out as inaccurate. Thus, delays pile up in the form of more back-and-forth’s, revisions and wasted man-hours.
Aside from managing requirements, Joye also shared the other processes involved in keeping a systematic workflow for tech projects:
1. Working with lean software methodology:
Joye mentions that while the Lean Method considers fast iterations fundamental to testing one’s assumptions about the potential users and the product itself, he asks founders and product owners to be cautious and deliberately selective in iterating as every rework costs money and time, especially amidst fierce competition.
“When you have your first product and your first users, this is when you can work more easily with fast iteration about your product without necessarily planning for the next features. This might help you get a better product, if you have strong adherence to the principles, and you manage to get rapid customer feedback.”
2. Estimating the features vis-a-vis development time needed:
Joye shares that this process is what some developers hate and usually skip, but is the way to ensure project completion. For Arcanys, they employ the agile methodology in turning deliverables into small chunks of work together. The activity pushes the team to understand each task as clearly as possible and set attainable deadlines. Knowing how much time each feature requires lets the team plan better and prioritize how the app will be built. The team should also prioritize functionalities into Phase 1 (MVP) and “Phase 2 and Beyond.”
3. Creating an architectural design:
Joye also recommends startups to have a good software architect on board. The architect, along with the developers must think about how they will put the system in place. The startup’s chief technical officer, ideally, can be at the same page with the architect on how the systems that comprises the product work together.
4. Managing the team:
Joye also puts a word of caution against non-technical project managers as usually this leads to losses in translation. He shares that in Arcanys, they prefer their lead developers to talk directly to their client, devoting 10% of their time as project managers. Project management tools such as JIRA, Asana and Trello are also helpful to keep the team aligned.
5. Don’t forget testing
Testers should be employed to check on the possible cranks and blind spots of the product. While it takes some time to test, consider it as a good insurance against a huge pile of customer complaints.
* Interested to know more about software development teams or IT outsourcing? Visit www.arcanys.com/labs or reach out to email@example.com. Download Frederic Joye’s presentation here. If you need help in creating clear and specific requirements, download this presentation, also by him.
Summary by Ella Fucanan.