I talk to a lot of business owners and something I hear frequently from them is “How do I get more from my programmer” or “I hired a programmer and I didn’t get the results I want”.
Truth is this happens more often then you know.
The thing is its not your fault nor theirs! I know that sounds a little bit crazy but I’ll explain a little bit why I think that and, I think you will agree.
You see we all think a little differently and we all have something that we do extremely well and what we know well it is easy for us to understand but the person sitting next to you maybe looking at you like you’re talking a foreign language to them.
So, lets think about every day life.
When your car starts acting up and you take it into the repairman and he “asks what’s wrong?” You reply it’s making this noise and you try to demonstrate the noise. This is followed by the mechanic asking “what are you doing when you hear this noise” or “where is this noise coming from?”.
You see the issue is not that the mechanic doesn’t know what he is doing but more so there is a communication break down. You don’t know what to tell him and he has no clue what you are trying to say. The very same thing happens when you hire a programmer.
It’s not that the programmer can’t do what is needed, the case is usually your making noises at him/her that doesn’t relate to an actionable item so they TRY to relate your noises into what they feel comes close to what you want.
I think you will agree this is what is happening.
As Marketing Webmaster, Developer and Graphic Artist, myself I’ve been on both sides of this conversation so hopefully I can give you a few tips here to help you get more from your programmer.
The first thing you need to remember is that the programmer will do exactly what you ask them because that’s how they think. They are going to fulfill your request as you ask it so don’t assume they’re going to know what you are thinking.
The next thing to realize is that many programmers are not graphic designers nor do they normally design interfaces. With this being said if you are wanting something to look a certain way scribble out on a piece of paper what you want, you don’t have to be an artist but if you have form fields you want in a certain way or buttons and menus in a certain location draw it out on paper take a snap shot with your phone or tablet and include it in your project description.
Something else that will help you get the results you want is to diagram the process.
Again if it’s easiest for you to pull out a sheet of notebook paper and scribble it out, do it. Maybe it’s something simple but don’t assume. For example if you are working on a series that has a form on the main page put a rectangle representing that page and then draw a line to the page you want it to go to next, like the thank you page. Maybe it doesn’t go to a thank you page but instead a confirmation page followed by a download page or a video page. By outlining you have a better chance of getting the result you want.
Finally I would suggest making sure both sides are clear on the target date in mind and make sure that is truly reachable, set in place check points that give you reassurance progress is happening. That could be as simple as request a daily/weekly email of progress or schedule a weekly Skype call to talk about progress and challenges.
Remember don’t assume anything, and don’t expect more than you’ve asked for.
One additional thought is that you talk with someone that understands the process it may be worth the time of a short consultation to discuss how you ask for the things you need from the programmer(s). Just having everything in order could save you a lot of time money and headaches.
If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to leave them in the comments section or let me know if I can assist you to get prepared for your next project.