Good programmers are vital to the success of businesses in the digital age. Keep the best programmers on your side by avoiding some key turn-off phrases.
To begin, Business Insider has a great list of things never to say to a front-end programmer. Basically don’t get caught in a classic case of “I know what I’m talking about, but really I don’t.”
Here are the biggest takeaways:
“Did you use Java to do that?”
In general, if you’ve heard a buzzword but don’t really know what it means, don’t use it.
“I was thinking we could turn this into an app…”
Apps are not easy to “whip up”, nor are they always necessary.
We all use apps, and they’re designed to seem simple and accessible. But remember, the creation of an app is not simple. A website and an app are two different things. Make sure an app will actually be useful to your business before you pay a programmer to create one.
“This is going to look cool on my phone, right?”
Unless you already asked for a mobile-compatible site from the start, don’t expect one.
A “regular” website and mobile-compatible one are two different things. A mobile user wants something different than a computer user, so don’t assume they should be the same. And don’t assume a programmer can flick a switch to make a website mobile-compatible halfway through the project.
Some other things to avoid:
“Your schedule and well-being are secondary. You need to be available to me 24/7!”
Of course you would never actually say this to someone, but it can sound like it if you’re not clear with your expectations.
Know and clearly state your expectations from the moment you hire a programmer (or better yet,at the interview). Freelancers have more than one project going at any given time, so don’t assume you’re the only thing (or even most important thing) on a programmer’s plate.
If you expect a programmer to be available during the regular 9-to-5 workday, make sure that is a realistic expectation. If you’ve told your programmer that you’d rather s/he works during his/her most productive hours to get the best work possible, don’t expect to be able to call for an update at 9 am. You might wake a grumpy programmer who finished an incredible project for you at 3 am.
“But you’re a girl!”
Again, you would hopefully never say this to anyone. But the truth is,technology has a man problem. Be careful not to contribute to it.
Diversity leads to better products and results. Many women don’t enter the tech world, and many others get pushed out of it. As in any office environment, virtual or otherwise, your employees should feel safe and supported.
“Can you make that page look like this? No wait, I don’t like that, go back to what you had before…”
Don’t waste the programmer’s time, especially since time means your money.
Sometimes it’s impossible to know what you’ll think until you see it. Only so much planning can be done before implementation. But some planning will save you time and money in the long run.
If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for during some part of the process, that’s ok, but you need to communicate. If you want to see a few different options and choose one, be sure to make that clear. That will cue the programmer to save a few different options rather than program something complex only to have to do the work over again to change it back.
“I actually know a bit of code myself, and I was thinking you could…”
You wouldn’t micromanage any other employee, don’t micromanage your programmer.
You may know a bit about programming, but that doesn’t make you an expert. (If you were an expert, you wouldn’t have hired your programmer in the first place.) That’s not to say you shouldn’t educate yourself about programming. Surviving in the business world today means having at least a basic understanding of technology. But you will not possibly be able to keep up with the constantly-evolving world of code unless you are devoting your career to it.Not everyone needs to know how to code.
Just as you would not tell your accountant how to interpret tax laws and file tax forms, don’t tell your programmer how to do his/her job. You should trust your programmer to do the job well, just as you would trust other employees. If you don’t have trust, then maybe it’s time to hire a new programmer.
The bottom line is: programmers have specialized skills that you don’t, but at the same time should be treated with the same respect and expectations you provide your other employees. Don’t be afraid to communicate what you want, but don’t assume you know how much time it will take or the best way to get it done. Planning ahead and setting expectations will ensure that no one ends up disappointed.