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Product Development

The Executive's Guide to Hiring Product Developers

Guidelines for setting up a strong relationship between the executive team and the product development team.
Image credit: Cavan Images | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor
President and Founding Partner of Yeti LLC

Whether you’re building an app for your startup, a marketing website or an advanced enterprise digital workflow system, the guidelines for setting up a strong relationship between your executive team and your product development team are the same. 

Software projects have a reputation for being expensive, taking too much time and devouring capital and resources before actually launching and proving themselves. Over my company's ten years in business as a product development team, we’ve seen successful structures and learned a lot of best practices for how to manage the process along the way. 

At the core of the product development team relationship is good communication. We have found it extremely vital to make sure that executive stakeholders and the development team are aligned and understand the needs and limitations on both sides of the equation. Everybody needs to be very clear on what exactly is going to be delivered. 

As an executive leading a software development team, the most important thing to remember is that it’s not you on one side and the developers on another, it truly needs to be a collaborative effort. Good software leaders provide direction, gain alignment and actively surface problems through the proper use of a few important management tools.

Over the years, my company has developed a plethora of systems and tools that help us collaborate effectively with our client stakeholders. As we’ve been asked to do more consulting rather than just development work, we’ve found they work universally for all kinds of executive development team relationships. Here are the guiding principles of those systems and tools as action items:

Before beginning the process, make sure you understand:

Related: 3 Strategies to Optimize Innovative Product Development

When interviewing developers, whether an external team or in-house, make sure you:

Related: How to Make an App When You Can't Code (a Step-by-Step Guide)

Once you’ve hired a product development team, make sure you and the team both:

There are so many good product developers and development teams out there. Whether you’re hiring internally or externally, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the right fit, but remember, you can’t be too thorough throughout the hiring process. It can be very difficult to switch teams mid product development.

And, most importantly, while building a product is hard work, you should have a good time doing it! Positive collaborative energy is the primary driver of good results so make sure you're working with people you like.