Monday, October 12, 2009

I read "Shannon Paul's Very Official Blog" this afternoon & found an interesting statement about the interaction between developers and other business folks.

What caught my attention was: "developers and engineers see it as their role to identify products or solutions — it’s your job [as a social media / marketing / product owner] to define the problem or list requirements".

I think she's saying the developers she works with see it as their job to create the product/solution based on a problem statement. I don't think this is universally true of software types - many (most) that I have worked with see it as their job to implement someone else's vision of a product. In other words, we build the software, but we don't identify the market need or product as a rule.

Many of the more entrepreneurial types do indeed handle the whole ball of wax, from ideation to development to marketing. Most of my fellow coder-nauts see themselves as "software guys" rather than entrepreneurs, though.

Perhaps a useful communication idea would be to describe how not being responsible for the product concept and marketing phases of a project will make their jobs both easier and more valuable.
"Easier" is simple enough to understand, since it means less work.

"More valuable" is more nebulous, but consider: by not getting tied to a product concept too early, you're avoiding preconceptions about what a product should be or should look like. It may not be intuitive, but in my experience having fewer preconceptions makes for better and more versatile software.

What do you think?
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